Māori Name: puwhaiau
Name Scientific: Chelidonichthys kumu
Availability: Year round
Attributes Weight: 0.5–1.4kg, up to 2kg
Attributes Length: 20–30cm, reaching 50cm
They are widespread around New Zealand and are found on sandy shell seabeds to a depth of about 180 metres. Small juveniles prefer shallow waters and are therefore often caught in shallow harbours.
Body is reddish-pink to red above and white below. The large pectoral fins are bluish-green with one large, dark spot and several small white or blue spots and a blue margin. These fins are split into several sensory rays that are used to locate prey and to enable the fish to move sideways across the sandy bottom in search of prey. The head is bony, and the scales are small.
Red gurnard belong to the Triglidae family (gurnards).
Spawning extends through the spring and summer, occuring earlier in the north than the south. Juveniles grow rapidly, some are mature at two years and most by four. Females grow faster and are often larger than the males.
Red gurnard annual catch has remained relatively stable for over a decade. Red gurnard are often caught alongside other species, such as snapper and flatfish. North Island gurnard stocks have been relatively stable over the last decade, fluctuating around target levels. Recent increases in abundance are apparent for most South Island stocks.
Red gurnard are caught all year around New Zealand (except in Fiordland).
Did You Know
Fishers have often known red gurnard to grunt when caught. Recent sound studies in the Leigh Marine Reserve have shown that the fish makes a surprisingly wide range of vocalisations in its daily life.
Red gurnard has firm fillets that hold their shape when cooked. Uses include: frying; poaching; steaming; baking; bbq; casserole; sushi/raw fish.
When buying whole red gurnard, always check the... EYES: Bright and clear cornea, shiny black pupil GILLS: Rosy pink pastel coloured gills SKIN: Bright, with a luminous sheen When buying red gurnard fillets, always check the... FLESH: semi-transparent and glossy If the fish looks sticky or mushy then it is not fresh.