Chronic starvation is the likely cause of the mushy, milky-white flesh found in some snapper in the Hauraki Gulf, according to Biosecurity New Zealand in a report requested under the Official Information Act.

NIWA scientists have now been called in to investigate, with monitoring of both commercial and recreational catches expected in coming months.

Sam Woolford, programme lead for Legasea NZ, said the OIA was requested after a rise in reports of snapper with milky white flesh. He noticed it first-hand through working on the Kai Ika project, which distributes fish heads and frames to marae around Auckland. 

Liza Hamilton

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