Fisheries Infosite

Cardinalfish Central(East) (CDL2)
Scientific name
Epigonus telescopus

Physical characteristics

Black Cardinalfish have dark grey-purple body colour with large, loose scales. They can grow to a length of 75 cm, but most adults are 50-60 cm.

Life cycle

Black Cardinalfish can reach a maximum age of over 100 years, though most commercial catch is 35-55 years old. Sexual maturity is reached at around 50 cm and 35 years of age. Spawning is thought to take place between May and June.


Black Cardinalfish are found throughout New Zealand waters but are most common off the east coast of the North Island at depths of 300-1200 m. They feed on mesopelagic fish, natant decapods, prawns and octopus.

Key statistics
Recreational significance Low
Customary significance Low
Reported commercial catch1 (tonnes)
Quota value estimate2 (NZ$m)
Exports estimate2 (NZ$m)
1 Reported commercial catch is calculated for the 12 month period to 30/09/2025
2 Quota value and exports are calculated pro-rata to reported commercial catch for the 12 month period to 30/09/2025