Scientific Name: Epinephelus daemelii
Black cod is a threatened species under NSW and Commonwealth law. Black cod are found in warm temperate and subtropical waters of the south-wetern Pacific. Their habitat stretches along the whole NSW coast and includes Lord Howe Island. They live in relatively shallow rocky reefs and juveniles sometimes enter estuaries. Black cod are usually found in caves and under ledges and are very easy to approach underwater.
Black cod (or black rock cod) can grow up to 2m in length and over 80 kilograms in weight. These slow-moving, inquisitive and territorial fish used to be a common inhabitant of coastal reefs in NSW. Due to overfishing in past decades it is now unusual to find large black cod in areas where they were once common.
The NSW is protecting the black cod’ environment through a series of marine parks and 10 grey nurse shark critical habitat areas. Each of these areas have special fishing rules that will help black cod numbers recover from the present near-extinction levels. Fishing for black cod is illegal. Penalties - $55,000 maximum fine for anyone who harms, buys, sells or possesses a black cod.