Fish Species in Marlborough

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With  slightly over 1,800km or around 20% of New Zealand's coastline, three major river systems, and several lakes, Marlborough provides a habitat for a wide range of fish species.

Marine Fish Species

The sheltered waters of the Marlborough Sounds provide an ideal habitat for many species of fish, including a number of commercially important ones. Blue cod and snapper are perhaps the most significant. Gurnard and kingfish are some of the other commercial species present.

In the shallow bays of the Sounds, stingrays are common, and the ubiquitous spotties Notolabrus celidotus  can be found throughout the Sounds.

Kahawai Arripis trutta, red cod Pseudophycis bachus and rig can all be found off the east coast.

Freshwater Fish Species

Brown and rainbow trout and salmon have been introduced to various rivers and lakes in Marlborough. Trout can be found in the Wairau, Lake Argyle, Goulter, Fish Lake and Lake Sedgemere of the Tarndale Lakes.

Shortfin eels are widespread throughout the region, and are even found in urban drainage channels in Blenheim.

Lake Chalice provides a habitat Galaxius brevipinnis endemic to the lake and found nowhere else in the world.

The Tarndale Bully Gobiomorphus alpinus is another fish unique to Marlborough found only in the Tarndale lakes in the Molesworth region.

Whitebait (juveniles of various Galaxiid species) are found in rivers around the region.

Common Bullies are widespread.

Bully in Omaka River

Gobiomorphus (Bullies)

Gobiomorphus is a genus of small freshwater fish native to New Zealand. Commonly known as bullies, seven species are found in NZ including one unique to Marlborough.

Short finned eel

Short finned eel

Short finned eels (Anguilla australis), are the commonest of the two native eel species found in New Zealand

Purple wrass (Notolabrus fucicola)

Purple wrass (Notolabrus fucicola)

Purple wrass (Notolabrus fucicola) is a common wrass found throughout New Zealand and Australia around rocky reefs.

Yellow eyed mullet or Aua / kātaha (Aldrichetta forsteri)

Yelloweye Mullet (Aldrichetta forsteri)

Yellow eyed mullet or Aua / kātaha (Aldrichetta forsteri) are a small fish common in harbours and estuaries around New Zealand and eastern Australia


Spotty (Notolabrus celidotus)

Spotties (Notolabrus celidotus) are a common fish native to New Zealand, found throughout the country around rocky reefs.

Common triplefins/Kokopara (Forsterygion lapillum)

Common Triplefin (Forsterygion lapillum)

Common triplefins/Kokopara (Forsterygion lapillum) are a small fish growing up to about 8 centimetres, found throughout New Zealand in shallow coastal water.

Twister (Bellapiscis medius)

Twister (Bellapiscis medius)

Twister (Bellapiscis medius) is a small fish endemic to New Zealand found in rock pools in intertidal zone.

Migratory Galaxias in Sutherland Stream.

Galaxias (whitebait)

Galaxias are a genus of freshwater fish native to New Zealand, commonly known in their juvenile form as whitebait.

Blue Cod

Blue Cod

Blue cod are a popular recreational and commercial fish endemic to New Zealand waters, particularly around Cook Strait and the Marlborough Sounds.