Stargazer (FAMILY) includes approximately 20 species
Forest & Bird (NZ) rank Stargazer E (RED - AVOID) in their Best Fish Guide. Bottom Trawling damages sea floor habitats and ecosystems. Bycatch of species including sea birds and marine mammals is of concern.
There are approximately 20 species of Stargazer caught in Australian waters. They are a bottom-dwelling fish that bury themselves in sand with only their eyes showing, awaiting prey to ambush. They are usually sold as 'Monkfish', and though similar to this Northern Hemisphere fish the use of the name is incorrect. They are taken as bycatch of trawl fisheries in Southeastern Australia and the Great Australian Bight.
Stargazers have been referred to as ‘Poor man’s Lobster’ because the firm, white, slightly chewy tail meat resembles that of lobster. The flesh is dense and doesn’t flake easily. For cubed or whole fillets to be grilled or BBQ’d ROCKLOBSTER makes a special-occasion alternative. Both should be cooked only until opaque to prevent toughness, and butter makes a good accompaniment.
The firm dense white flesh of Stargazer is popular in wet dishes such as curries or braises, as it holds together well. In dishes such as these, try YELLOWTAIL KINGFISH, adding cubed fish in the last 5 minutes before serving to prevent overcooking and drying out the meat.
Gurnard have a similar diet to that of the Stargazer, making their flavours quite similar. The tight, firm flesh of Gurnard is also quite like the Stargazer’s. It can be used as an alternative in most applications.