|kourepoua, moamoa, ngu (Maori), giant stargazer, bulldog, sterngucker (Germany), miishimaokoze (Japan)|
Stargazer (monkfish) is a worst choice seafood. An alternative is
Stargazer or monkfish is actually one of a few species of stargazer in New Zealand. The giant stargazer is widespread in New Zealand coastal waters between 50 and 500m, living on or partially buried in soft sediments on the seabed. It is caught year round, mainly around the South Island where it is most common as bycatch in trawl fisheries targeting red cod, tarakihi, flatfish, barracouta and scampi. It is also caught as bycatch in some deepwater fisheries.
The absence of quantitative stock assessments, uncertainty over stock boundaries, unknown sustainability of some catch levels and limits and the lack of a management plan are of concern. Also of concern is the habitat destruction caused by bottom trawling, bycatch of skates, plus the non-target fish, seabirds and marine mammal bycatch associated with other fisheries in which stargazer is caught.
Not certified under any scheme.
Stargazer is sold in New Zealand and had an export value of about $2.93 million in 2015, mainly sold to Australia (45%), UK China and Japan.
No regional or fishing method difference.
|Population size:||Largely unknown. There has been a preliminary estimate off the West Coast and top of the South Island (STA 7) which gave a spawning stock estimate of 29 to 51% B0 for the base case assessment.|
|Annual catch limit:||Limit set at 5,456 tonnes since 2009-10.|
|Recorded catch:||Reported landings of 2,947 tonnes in 2014-15.|
|Stock trends:||Mainly unknown, but STA7 trawl survey index has increased since 2007.|
|MSY Status:||Mainly unknown.|
|The Ministry of Primary Industries assessment plenary report includes:||
“No estimates of current or reference biomass are available.”
STA 2 (East Coast North Island): “It is not known whether recent catches and the current TACC will cause the STA2 stock size to decline. The status of STA2 relative to BMSY is unknown.”
STA 3 (East Coast South Island): “Unlikely to be below [soft or hard] limits. STA 3 stock size is likely to remain near current levels under catch (570 tonne). It is Unknown if catches near the TACC (902 tonne) would cause the stock to decline.”
STA 4 (Chatham Rise): “if fishing is overly concentrated in those areas where stargazer can be targeted, such as close to the Chatham Islands, there are concerns that local depletion may occur. It is not known if catches at the level of the current TACC would be sustainable.”
STA 5 (southern waters, including sub-Antarctic islands and Fiordland): “About As Likely As Not to be at or above the target.” The “current level of catch is probably sustainable, at least in the 3–5 year period.”
STA 7 (West Coast & top of the South Island): “Likely to be at or above BMSY The base case model for the STA 7 stock assessment suggested biomass in 2007 was 29–51% B0. Relative biomass of STA 7 from the 2013 WCSI trawl survey is markedly higher than it was in 2007.” Overfishing is “Unlikely to be occurring”
STA 8 (lower west coast North Island, including Taranaki): “It is not known if recent catch levels and current TACC are sustainable. The status of STA 8 relative to BMSY is unknown.” (MPI 2016, p1070-1398).
|Distribution:||Moderately common in shelf waters around southern New Zealand at depths of 50 to 500m.|
|Maximum age (years):||26|
|Age at sexual maturity:||5-7|
|Reproductive output:||Medium to high|
|Ability to recover:||Low to moderate|
|Fishing method(s):||Trawling. Stargazer is a mainly a bycatch in red cod, tarakihi, flatfish, barracouta and scampi bottom trawl fisheries. Most (70-80%) of the STA 5 catch is taken by the target trawl fishery with a smaller component of the catch taken by a flatfish trawl fishery. About 40% of the bottom trawl landings of STA 3 are taken in the target red cod fishery, with remaining catches coming from the target flatfish, barracouta, hoki and tarakihi fisheries.|
|Habitat damage:||There is considerable damage to seafloor communities when caught by bottom trawl or midwater trawl which touches the bottom. Impacts include habitat modification, loss of biodiversity, loss of benthic productivity, modification of important breeding and juvenile fish habitat and redistribution of sediment|
|Habitat of particular significance:|
|Bycatch:||Bycatch in the target fishery include ling, tarakihi and spiny dogfish. Stargazer is associated with the bycatch problems of other fisheries in which it is caught, which includes captures of non-target fish, seabirds and marine mammals. (See red cod, flatfish, barracouta and scampi for more information.). The bycatch of skates which are declining in the STA 7 fishery is a concern.|
|Ecological effects:||The combined effects of seafloor damage and alteration plus non-target bycatch can have considerable ecological implications on seabed and wider marine systems.|
|Bycatch:||Bycatch includes seabird and marine mammal captures. Inshore trawl fisheries have an estimated seabird bycatch of 4370 seabirds (this includes cryptic mortality of birds that strike the trawl warps and are not recovered in the nets). Species reported include white-capped albatross, Salvin’s albatross and white-chinned petrels. Fur seal captures have also been estimated in the inshore trawl fisheries at about 20 per year. There is also a risk of Maui and Hector’s dolphin captures, in inshore trawl fisheries where endangered Hector’s dolphin and critically endangered Maui’s dolphin is found. From Otago Peninsula south there is a risk of incidental sea lion captures. (See red cod, flatfish, barracouta and scampi for more information.). In STA 7, smooth skates are caught as a bycatch, and the biomass index for smooth skates in the West Coast trawl survey has declined substantially since 1997. There may be similar concerns for rough skates but the evidence is less conclusive.|
|Management component:||Single species. It is not known if there is more than one stock in the EEZ, but there are length-at-age differences in three areas around the South Island, indicating different stocks.|
|Quota Management Species:||Yes, since 1986.|
|Management plan:||There is no approved inshore plan.|
|Stock assessment:||One quantitative stock assessment for STA 7 (2008) with an index revision in 2014.|
|Research:||There is some research in the quota areas with larger catches.|
|Observer coverage:||Observer coverage averaged 1.47% in the trawl fishery. There was little observer coverage outside QMA1 and the northern part of QMA8. None of this coverage is likely to be spatially or temporally representative of the fishing effort.|