Tai Snapper

(Pagrus auratus): WILD CAUGHT

NEW ZEALAND’S TOP FISH for export and favorite for consumption, the Tai Snapper is actually not a snapper at all. It is a pink sea bream, or porgy, in the Sparidae family. The snapper title, according to legend, was given to this fish mistakenly by renowned eighteenth century British navigator Captain James Cook. With its pink and silvery scales, it does bear a close resemblance to the American Red Snapper, a common fish in Atlantic waters, which likely explains the confusion. Market Names for this fish also include “New Zealand Red (or Gold) Snapper”.

Most Tai Snappers are wild caught on longlines in the cold waters between New Zealand and Japan, where this fish has attained its greatest popularity (ours hail from dayboat inshore catches in the waters of Northern New Zealand).  The Japanese revere it as one of the best-tasting fish in the sea. The word “tai” in Japanese means “good fortune” – and is often served there at celebratory feasts from New Year to weddings, and even the birth of a child.  It is fortunate for us all that this delicious fish is flown in fresh from New Zealand, and is always of high quality. Tais generally run between 3 and 6 pounds, although they sometimes top 8 pounds.

The firm yet flaky flesh of the Tai has a mild flavor that excels in a carpaccio dish or prepared for sushi. The flesh is light with a pinkish tinge, and cooks up white, with medium flake/texture. It can be seared, broiled or grilled, and the skin, when cooked, is edible. Tai is a suitable substitute for most dishes that call for American Red Snapper, which is not always in season. Availability for Tai Snapper is generally strong.

Catch Region: New Zealand

Seasonality: Year Round

Catch Method: Longline

Yield  (Fillet Percentage): 50 %

Flavor Profile: Delicate and Sweet

Texture Profile: Firm and Flaky


  • Red Snapper
  • Daurade (Bream)