The eastern red scorpionfish (Scorpaena cardinalis), also known as the red rockcod, is a member of the scorpionfish family Scorpaenidae, a large family containing about 350 species worldwide and occurring in all temperate and tropical seas.
Scorpion fish is an aesthetically stunning New Zealand species. It can be considered ugly or beautiful, or both, depending on the eye of the beholder. This striking, bright orange, heavily-armored reef-dweller has a permanent angry countenance and the oxymoron of appearances is enhanced by the fact that beneath the gnarled exterior lies an extremely sweet, white fillet, which is sought after by the most discerning sashimi chefs.
Scorpion fish, or ‘Grandaddy Hapuku’ as it is called endearingly by New Zealand anglers, is found in waters throughout New Zealand’s entire rocky coastline. It must be handled with care as it is a relative of the Lionfish and Stonefish and in similar fashion has venomous spines and poisonous glands/organs within the fish. It inhabits reefs and lives in water depths of 200-1,000 feet, so is caught alongside snapper, red snapper and groper and is probably the most valuable of all the demersal long-line species.