Giant Boarfish, Longsnout Boarfish and others. Individual species not often identified at market. Commonly mislabelled at fishmongers and restaurants as 'Duckfish'.
Boarfish are broadly distributed in the southern portion of Australia, from Southern NSW to Southern WA and including Tasmania. They are usuallly taken as bycatch of trawling in commercial waters, but are also taken by demersal otter trawls and gillnet fisheries in southern Australia.
Boarfish are most commonly marketed at around 30 to 60cm and 2 to 5kg.
Boarfish use their large snouts like pigs to unearth and suck up invertebrates such as crabs, worms, brittle starfish and sea cucumbers from the sand or mud.
Also known as "Duckfish".
The why and how of sustainability
The exploitation status of Boarfish is Undefined by NSW DPI.
Relatively little biological information is available for any of the species of Boarfish. Few studies have been undertaken to determine the potential impacts of fishing on Boarfish populations or the sustainability of current fishing levels, but evidence indicates that numbers are declining. In Victoria, populations are considered to have declined on heavily fished reefs. Habitat damage as a result of trawling is likely to affect Boarfish.
Boarfish are territorial and slow moving, making them vulnerable to spearfishing in coastal waters and trawling in deeper waters.
Preparation and cooking
Boarfish are well regarded as eating fish, especially by anglers. They have few bones and tight white meat. Their flesh is delicate in flavour and texture. Boarfish can be panfried with a little butter for delicious results. Fresh specimens are also excellent raw, with crisp, clean white flesh.
The firm, tight, lustrous flesh of Leatherjacket is very similar to that of Boarfish. It is versatile, being suited to grilling and panfrying as well as poaching and braising.
The clean flavour of FLATHEAD and the delicate flake it produces when cooked gently make it an ideal substitute for Boarfish. Very fresh Flathead can be eaten raw. Like Boarfish, raw Flathead is a clean, crisp, firm meat with a slight (but pleasant) chewiness.
Like Boarfish, DORY has finely flaking, delicate sweet flesh that is best suited to gentle cooking methods such as steaming or pan frying on a low heat. You can use the fillets of these two fish interchangeably with very similar results.