Product of the Week – Ocean Jacket

Nelusetta ayraudi

Other names:

Chinaman, chinaman leatherjacket, leather-jacket, yellow jacket.


Monacanthidae (leatherjackets).


Available wild caught, these marine fish are mainly found inshore near the sea bottom on the continental shelf and upper slope often near reefs and sponge beds to about 200m. Ocean Jackets are by far the most valuable commercial Leatherjacket, and are caught mainly in the Great Australian Bight in traps or by demersal trawlers. Like all Leatherjackets, they lack scales and have a distinctive skin that resembles fine sandpaper, a prominent, spiky first dorsal fin and very small mouths.


Available year round.

Size and Weight:

Commonly to about 1.5kg and 60cm, though they can grow to 3.5kg and 76cm.


Low priced.


Other Leatherjackets (there are over 100 species in the family and 60 in Australian waters, including the group marketed as Reef Leatherjackets, such as Yellowstripe, Sixspine, Horseshoe and Yellowfin Leatherjackets), Triggerfish (Balistidae).

To Buy:

Sold as trunks (headed, gutted and skinned) and in fillet form (always skinned). In whole fish and trunks look for intact skin (if present), firm flesh, and a pleasant, fresh sea smell. In fillets, look for off-white to yellowish, firm, lustrous, moist flesh without any brown markings or oozing water and with a pleasant fresh sea smell.

To Store:

Make sure whole fish and trunks are gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Wrap whole fish, trunks and fillets in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for 2-3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.

To Cook:

Average yield is 30% from whole fish and 65% from trunks. Has a mild flavour, low oiliness and is moderately moist, with firm flesh. Fillets are usually boneless, trunks usually have the backbone left in and can be cooked this way or cut into cutlets.

Cooking Methods:

Steam, poach, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, smoke. A good plate-sized fish cooked whole (head off), best left whole (head off) for baking and grilling (and wrapped in foil or banana leaves to prevent it drying out). Thin fillets are also best wrapped in foil or banana leaves when barbecuing or grilling. Flesh works well in mousseline or minced for fish cakes and fish balls. The firm flesh holds together well in soups, curries and casseroles.

Goes well with:

Butter, cream, garlic, fresh herbs, lemon, olive oil, onions, pepper, shallots, wine (red and white).


Dories, Gemfish, Morwong, Rockcods.


Frozen fillets are imported from South East Asia.


Leatherjackets in a Mediterranean Sauce >
Leatherjackets with Pistachio & Olive Crust >
Leatherjackets with Burnt Butter & Capers >
Bouillabaisse >

Post credit | Sydney Fish Market

  • We came to buy a selection of fish and seafood for a BBQ later that day. The choice was first class, and the service good. The fish was very fresh, and we enjoyed the snapper cutlets, the marlin steak and the prawns. Delicious!

    “Excellent fish shop” – Visited February 2017

    via Trip Advisor
  • Service at the Co-Op is friendly and helpful and the fish is MAGNIFICENTLY FRESH. If you have a special occasion coming up, the cooked lobster is absolutely delicious.

    “LOVE THE CO-OP” – Visited March 2017

    via Trip Advisor
  • A good array of locally caught wet fish and a superb take away with outside covered seating. Was recommended to us as the best fish and chips in town and we would agree.

    “Great fish and chips” – Visited March 2017

    via Trip Advisor
  • Stopped by the Fishermen’s Co-op just before the lunchtime crowd and the snapper was excellent. The crumbing was light and the oil fresh. In fact all the fish there looked great. The calamari was fresh and actually squid rings not mashed together to look like a ring. It got very busy quickly after I arrived and seating outside on the covered deck is limited so get in early or takeaway to the beach close by.

    “A great feed of fish and chips” – Visited January 2017

    via Trip Advisor

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