Story: Freshwater fish

Common smelt

Common smelt

There are two New Zealand species in the Retropinnidae family: the common smelt (Retropinna retropinna) and Stokell’s smelt (Stokellia anisodon), and it is difficult to tell them apart. Both have a distinct cucumber smell. Common smelt swim in large, roving shoals in estuaries. Māori, who knew them as pōrohe and paraki, caught them and dried them in the sun.

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Department of Conservation
Reference: 10049722
Photograph by Stephen Moore

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How to cite this page:

Bob McDowall, 'Freshwater fish - Bullies, smelt and grayling', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 May 2022)

Story by Bob McDowall, published 24 Sep 2007