Family Tree: The Red Emperor is not really an Emperor. They are actually a member of the Snappers and Seaperches family Lutjanidae which includes other well-known species such as Mangrove Jack (Lutjanus argentimaculatus), Maori Sea Perch (Lutjanus rivulatus) and Saddletail Snapper (Lutjanus malabaricus).
Appearance: Juveniles and young adults are distinguished from more mature fish by three dark red vertical bands and a paler overall colouration. As they age they become pink/red all over and the banding becomes less distinct.
Although most commonly caught between 4 to 8 kg, Red Emperor can grow up to 116cm in length and 33kg in weight and have been known to live for at least 34 years. Unlike many other fish species, they are gonochoristic meaning they don’t change sex as they age.
On the Table: Red Emperor are one of the most prized catches on the Barrier Reef and other reefs throughout its tropical habitat. They are a stunning fish to catch both in colour and on the table. Highly regarded as one of the most esteemed of all Australian reef fish, Red Emperor challenge Coral Trout to the title of most valued of all Australian tropical seas fish. These magnificent fish elude a lot of recreational and commercial anglers, but at TomKat Linefish, they are our signature fish, and will certainly be a welcome guest at your dinner table.