Common Gurnard Perch

Other names: gurnard, gurnet, ruddy gurnard

Scientific name:Neosebastes scorpaenoides

Minimum size: None

Bag limit: 15 (gurnard and ocean perch combined)

Possession limit: 30 (gurnard and ocean perch combined)

Identifying features: The common gurnard perch is characterised by an orange grey body with a whiter belly, three irregular broad saddle-like bands and small head spines. The fin colouration mimics the body colour.  Gurnards have rough scales and hard sharp bony plates around the gill covers.  The eyes are large and they have very sharp, poisonous spines.

Grows to:
Up to 45 cm and 1.5 kg.

Habitat: The common gurnard perch lives over sand and hard bottom from 2 - 100 metres depth.

Fishing information: Commonly caught while fishing for flathead over sand, but may also be encountered over rocky reef.  This species is abundant in Tasmania.

Responsible fishing tips: Use a de-hooker or pliers to remove hook or cut the line and release the fish alive over the water without landing or handling.  

Handling: Be careful of poisonous spines which can inflict a painful sting.  Poison glands are found at the base of the dorsal, anal and ventral fin spines.  If you are spiked, wash the affected area with warm water to help de-nature the toxins.  Seek medical advice if symptoms persist.

Cooking: Gurnard flesh is white, firm and good eating when filleted and skinned.  It has a medium flavour with low oil content.  Suitable to bake, barbecue, shallow or deep fry, foil bake, grill, poach or steam.  Be careful when preparing gurnard to cut all the spines off carefully using scissors or pliers.

Fish illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe
Fish for the Future