Gurnard, Grey

Eutrigla gurnardus

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Demersal otter trawl
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — Celtic Sea and West of Scotland
Stock detail — VI, VIIa-c and e-k
Picture of Gurnard, Grey

Sustainability rating three info

Sustainability overview

Gurnards are non-quota species and are often discarded due to low market demand. Increased consumption and demand for the species will alleviate the need to waste fish through the practice of discarding. Grey gurnard appears to be the most resilient of the three gurnard species encountered in the north east Atlantic, and is taken as bycatch in trawl fisheries in deeper offshore waters. More research is needed to obtain a better understanding of the impact of fishing on the stock and provide information for its sustainable management, especially if the species is to become commercially targeted. Avoid eating immature fish (less than 24cm) and fresh (not previously frozen) fish caught during the spawning season (April-August).


Gurnards belong to a group of fish known collectively as Trigliadae (sea robins). Grey gurnard occurs in the eastern Atlantic from Iceland, Norway, southern Baltic, and North Sea to southern Morocco, and Madeira Islands. It is also found in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. In the North Sea and in Skagerrak/Kattegat, grey gurnard is an abundant demersal species. They have a strong seasonal migration throughout the North Sea. It forms dense semi-pelagic aggregations in winter to the northwest of the Dogger Bank; in summer, grey gurnard are more widespread. The species is less abundant in the English Channel, the Celtic Sea, and in the Bay of Biscay. Although an offshore species, grey gurnard is occasionally found in shallow water. They spawn from April to August in deep water. The maximum life span rarely exceeds 6 years. They can attain a length of 45 cm, but are usually around 30 cm. Sexually mature at a length of about 18 cms and an age of 3 years (males) and about 24 cms and 4 years (females).Gurnards are able to grunt or growl by the use of muscles associated with the swim bladder, and this is believed to aid in keeping schools together.

Stock information

Criterion score: 0.5 info

Stock Area

Celtic Sea and West of Scotland

Stock information

This is a data-limited stock. As such there is little information available on abundance and exploitation. Reference points are not defined and the status of the stock is unknown. ICES advised that catches in 2013 should be reduced by 20% in relation to the average catch over the last three years. Because catch data is unreliable - the species is largely discarded and landings data do not reflect the actual catches, catch rates are unknown. This advice is biennial and also valid for 2015. No advice published for this stock since June 2014.


Criterion score: 0.5 info

There is no management plan or total allowable catch (TAC) for grey gurnard in this area. For management purposes, information is required on landings, stock structure and biological data in order to achieve sustainable exploitation in the longer term.

Capture Information

Criterion score: 0.5 info

Currently, grey gurnard is a bycatch species in demersal fisheries. Catches are largely discarded. There is a potential for damage to seabed by trawling. Trawling is also associated with discarding of unwanted fish, i.e. undersized and/or non-quota and/or over-quota species.


Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Coley, Saithe
Hake, European
Monkfish, Anglerfish
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Sturgeon (Farmed)


ICES Advice 2014, Book 5;
ICES. 2010. Report of the Working Group on Assessment of New MoU Species (WGNEW), 1115 October 2010, ICES Headquarters, Denmark. ICES CM 2010/ACOM:21. 185 pp.