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Free Fish Heads

Matt Watson with
snapper frames

Free Fish Heads

Have you ever seen a pile of fish heads and fish frames rotting on a beach? If you have, you would probably have taken offense to the sight and smell, or even been horrified by the blatant waste of food.

But the dumping of fish heads and frames is so common in New Zealand, it is accepted as the norm.

The vast majority of fish eaters in New Zealand eat only the fillets, meaning thousands of fish heads and frames are dumped at sea, on beaches, buried in the garden or simply end up in the rubbish. Most of the folk that discard the heads and frames will never be convinced of the joys of picking at a fish frame or sucking on a fish eye. However, there are thousands of Kiwis who would gladly take fresh fish heads and frames and feast on the sweet succulent meat.

The solution is simple, those that don’t want their fish heads give them to someone that does. Trouble is, people that don’t eat fish heads often don’t know the people that do. So that’s why has been established, to bring Kiwis together, make people happy and reduce waste.

Utilisation = Conservation Here’s how it works; a family gets a bin full of fish heads for free. This feast may fulfill their fish needs for the week, so perhaps they won’t go and set a net in the estuary, or go to the market and buy some commercially caught fish – fish that may have been caught in a destructive trawl net. So each extra meal gained from utilising all the fish, reduces the need to take more from the sea. So by gifting, rather than dumping you are conserving fish and helping out one of your fellow kiwis.

If you're not going to use you fish heads, here’s what you do. Log onto and click on ‘I’ve got unwanted fish heads’ then select the area closest to where you live or where you’ll be fishing.

There will be a list of names and numbers of people that will take your fish heads. Take down a few numbers incase you don’t get through.

When you are on your way back to the ramp, or on the beach, at the bach, or at home – just ring up and arrange for a pick up or a place to meet. You’ll feel good for not wasting, and you’ll make someone’s day So you want some free fish heads and frames? – Here’s what you do.

Go to and click on ‘Register for free fish heads’ fill out your details and your done. Next time someone in your area has unwanted fish heads they’ll give you a call and you grab the fish heads off them – sweet as!

I’m sure you’ll be grateful for the fish heads, but it’s illegal to pay or trade goods for recreationally caught fish. But if you feel the need to koha or give something back, make a contribution to LegaSea who are working for more fish in the water.


© Scoop Media

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