Shaws Cowfish

Cowfish shaws female
© Tasmanian Government. Image Peter Gouldthorpe
Season: Open all year

bag limit5


possession limit10


boat limit-

(refer to ‘Handling’)

Guide to symbols

bagBag Limit
housePossession Limit
boatBoat Limit

Minimum size


Most scalefish are measured from the nose to the end of the tail. Get your scalefish measuring ruler or sticker at any Service Tasmania outlet.

Other names

boxfish, cowfish

Scientific name

Aracana aurita

Grows to

Up to


Identifying features

​This fish has a rigid boxlike body with a number of hard, horn like structures on top of head and back and a rigid keel along the belly. The mouth is very small. The colour difference is very marked between sexes, males being bright blue with horizontal blue lines and spots on flank and yellow fins. Females are brown with white patches and brown striping horizontal across flanks, fins are light brown. Select cowfish image above to see illustrations of both sexes.


Found all around Tasmania in coastal waters from 5-160m in depth. Being poor swimmers they tend to favour sheltered areas free from high wave action and strong tidal movements.

Fishing information

Not targeted. Quite commonly seen by divers and fishers in shallow waters and also washed up on beaches following storms.


This fish is poisonous and must not be eaten. They may be kept as aquarium fish but cowfish can produce a toxin from their skin that is released when provoked and may harm other fish species in a tank.


Poisonous. Do not eat.


Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

0427 655 557

What to report? arrow button

Contact us

Recreational Fishing

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

Hobart TAS 7000

Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647


Commercial Fisheries

Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550


Commercial Fisheries Licensing

Level 1, 134 Macquarie St

GPO Box 44

Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550