Maori Octopus

Other names: octopus, New Zealand octopus

Scientific name:
Octopus maorum

Area restrictions:
Area restrictions apply in Eaglehawk Bay on the Tasman Peninsula in the south of the state.

Minimum size:

Bag limit:
5 (octopus species combined)

Possession limit:
10 (octopus species combined)

They cannot be taken by a specialised octopus pot or trap.

Identifying features:
A large octopus with reddish to orange-brown colouration, white spots, an oval shaped body and large eyes.  The tentacles are long and muscular.  The body is covered in large dimples or skin patches giving a spiky appearance.

Grows to:
Up to 30 cm mantle length, 1 metre total length and 10 kg.

Occurs around shallow inshore reef areas out to deeper reef shelf areas up to 60 metres deep.  Lives in rock crevices or forms burrows.  

Fishing information:
Octopus are usually taken by hand, gaff, line, net, bait trap or in rock lobster pots and rings. A popular recreational fishery for this large species exists in Eaglehawk Bay on the Tasman Peninsula when the moon and tide conditions are right.  A predator of rock lobster, it is often taken in lobster pots.

Responsible fishing tips:
This species can grow quite large, so only take enough octopus for your immediate needs.

Handle with caution as octopus have a mouth or beak at the centre point of its arms that can inflict a painful bite.  

Octopus has low oil content and a delicious mild flavour.  Its texture is similar to squid but denser.  Most cooks prefer to tenderise it, then skin it.  Suitable to bake, barbecue, fry and simmer.  Popular pickled in the Greek style.

Fish illustrations by Peter Gouldthorpe
Fish for the Future