Fisheries Infosite

Leatherjacket 3, 5 and 6 (Combined) (LEA3)
Maori name
Scientific name
Meuschenia scaber

Physical characteristics

Leatherjacket have pale greyish-brown bodies with dark blotches. They can grow up to a maximum length of 30 cm.

Life cycle

Leatherjacket is thought to have a maximum age of 7 years, reaching maturity at 2 years and 19-22 cm in length. Spawning occurs through spring and summer.


Leatherjacket are most commonly found around the North Island inhabiting areas near reefs and over rough seafloors at depths to 100 m, most commonly at 40-60 m. They feed on salps and jellyfish.

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