Wild Shellfish Alert - Do not eat wild shellfish from areas in and around Spring Bay and the Mercury Passage in South East Tasmania.
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.
latchet gurnard, flying gurnard; red gurnard, sharp beaked gurnard, spiny gurnard, spiny beaked gurnard
The latchet can be recognised by tiny scales on the body, a pair of long spines on the snout and colourful pectoral fins. Colouration is red above and silver below. The dorsal and tail fins are red, and the anal fin is white. The pectoral fins are blue to purplish with bands of yellow to green spots. There are two large white-margined black spots on the base of each pectoral fin. This fish is frequently confused with the red gurnard or butterfly gurnard.
If taken as bycatch, consider releasing it carefully.
Latchets are a more temperate species, occurring off all southern Australian states but generally inhabiting deeper waters from 35-400 metres. Juveniles occasionally enter the deeper, south eastern Tasmanian estuaries during autumn.
This colourful fish is sometimes caught in gillnets or occasionally on hook and line using fish flesh for bait. Not usually targeted recreationally but caught when the angler is fishing for something else.
Possible poisonous spines, handle with care.
The latchet is considered good eating although many Tasmanians prefer the red gurnard. The larger ones bake well but tend to dry out, so try basting frequently. The flesh is white with medium flavour and 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.
Level 3, 134 Macquarie St
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647
GPO Box 44
Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550