Fisheries Infosite

Elephant Fish 5 & 6 Combined (ELE5)
Maori name
Scientific name
Callorhinchus milii

Physical characteristics

Elephant Fish are silver-grey on the back with dark saddles and a silver-white underside. They can grow to lengths up to 100 cm.

Life cycle

Elephant Fish have an estimated maximum age of at least 9 years. Maturity in males is reached at 50 cm in length and 3 years. Females mature at 70 cm in length and aged 4-5 years. They spawn in spring-summer.


Elephant Fish can be found off East Cape and on the east coast and south of Kaipara. Mature elephant fish migrate to shallow inshore waters to spawn, but at other times are found at depths down to 150 m.

Key statistics
Recreational significance Medium
Customary significance Medium
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