Gurnard, Yellow or Tub

Triglia or Chelidonichthys lucerna

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Demersal otter trawl
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — All Areas
Stock detail


Picture of Gurnard, Yellow or Tub

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. The largest European gurnard, yellow or tub gurnard is more vulnerable to fishing than either red or grey gurnard. There are some indications that abundance is increasing, however more research is required to get a better understanding of stock status. Avoid eating immature fish and during their breeding season (May to July).


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

Stock Area

All Areas

Stock information

There is no stock assessment for the species, but there have been increases in abundance in North Sea beam trawl time series surveys, and the abundance of the species in the area has ‘fluctuated at a relatively high level’. Analysis of CPUE data has shown increases in abundance of species having southern biogeographic affinities (including tub gurnard), however whether this is due to migration or expansion is unclear. A relatively abundant gurnard fishery exists in inshore waters of 20-150 m and it is a moderately important food-fish, especially in continental Europe. Tub gurnard is also considered an under-utilised species. Under-utilised species are ones that fishermen don’t catch their full quota of; or they catch them but then discard the fish because no one wants to buy them.Centre for Environmental, Fisheries and Aquaculture Scince (Cefas) have compiled a list of these species using quota and discard information, expert advice and local knowledge and chose around 50 under-utilised species to study. To determine their sensitivity to over-fishing Cefas has developed a system, the Relative Life History Sensitivity Analysis, to study the risk. It uses biological information like growth and breeding strategies to see how increased fishing pressure might damage each species. They then ranked the species by how tolerant they are to being over-fished. For a full list of the species that are most under-utilised AND most tolerant of over-fishing and therefore the best ones for consumers to consider choosing see


There is currently no management for any of the gurnard species in the EU - there is no minimum landing size, no quota, and no effort, seasonal, temporal or technical regulations for the species. For management purposes, information is required on landings, stock structure and biological data in order to achieve their sustainable exploitation in the longer term.

Capture Information

Taken as bycatch in trawl fisheries. There is a potential for damage to the seabed by trawling. Trawling is also associated with discarding of unwanted fish, i.e. undersized and/or non-quota and/or over-quota species. There is currently no management for any of the gurnard species in the EU - there is no minimum landing size, no quota, and no effort, seasonal, temporal or technical regulations for the 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
Bass, seabass (Farmed)
Bream, Gilthead (Farmed)
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Coley, Saithe
Hake, Cape
Hake, European
Japanese amberjack, Yellowtail or Seriola
Pollack or Lythe
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Pouting or Bib
Sturgeon (Farmed)