Hooray the Hoki season is here and it’s the best time to buy it fresh says Foodstuffs fish expert

29 June 2023

Brett Sellers, Seafood Operations Manager for Foodstuffs North Island

Brett Sellers is excited, the Hoki season is here and it’s one of his most favourite times of the year, says the Seafood Operations Manager for Foodstuffs North Island, who’s responsible for making sure his PAK’nSAVE and New World customers have the pick of fresh fish from New Zealand waters.

“The Bluff Oyster season everyone knows about, but the West Coast Hoki season, not so much” laughs Brett who, as part of his role with Foodstuffs, sees him working alongside local seafood companies of all sizes.

NZ Hoki season runs through the winter months from late June through to early September with the colder water temperatures on South Island’s west coast attracting the Hoki into dense schools, marking a three-month peak in abundance of the versatile fish that’s mainly fished for in deep waters off Hokitika.

“It’s an exciting time when the season kicks in, supply levels go from almost 0-100% and when there’s plenty of any fresh produce around and that means great prices in-store.   Every hour counts when you’re working with seafood, so everyone involved in the process has to be an expert to really make the most of the opportunity" adds Brett.

Most of the local Hoki fishers base themselves in Greymouth and Westport, which is the closest port to the fishing grounds at the Hokitika trench some 40-50 miles away from port where most of the fish is caught.

Foodstuffs take great pride in sourcing their Hoki fish from reputable local companies says Brett.

“We work really closely with our suppliers who employ local crew and teams to harvest and process the Hoki with passion and care. Many of the fishers have worked the area for generations and have the utmost respect and care for the environment they operate in.  We believe in the importance of responsible sourcing and environmental stewardship, which is why our commitment to sustainability extends beyond the Hoki fish season. By partnering with trusted suppliers who share our values, we ensure our customers can enjoy the finest Hoki fish, while contributing to the preservation of our oceans for future generations and supporting kiwis along the way.”

The West Coast Hoki fishing grounds are relatively close to the shore meaning boats can catch what they need and return, usually within the same day. The catch is then processed in the afternoon in Greymouth, or Westport and on a chilled truck within hours arriving fresh at every Foodstuffs store the next morning.

Sellers continues, “the quick turnaround from harvest to sale means our customers are getting the very freshest fish, no matter where they are We're committed to delivering the very best fish to each and every one of our customers up and down the country, not just those in major cities. We deliver fresh Hoki around the country within a 24-hour turnaround, so it’s always super fresh!”

“The process is underpinned by the best industry practices and values, and I think it makes the fish taste even better knowing it’s sustainably harvested and locally sourced. - finishes Sellers.