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Epinephelus flavocaeruleus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES EPINEPHELIDAE

Scientific Name: Epinephelus flavocaeruleus
Species Authority: (Lacepède, 1802)
Common Name(s):
English Blue And Yellow Grouper, Blue And Yellow Reef Cod, Yellotail Reef Cod, Yellowfin Grouper, Yellowtail Rockcod, Blue-and-yellow Grouper
French Merou Faraud, Plat, Plate Ailes Jaues, Vieille Faraud, Vieille Plate
Spanish Mero Azul Y Amarillo
Synonym(s):
Bodianus macrocephalus (Lacepède, 1802)
Cynichthys flavapurpuratus Swainson, 1839
Holocentrus caerulescens Shaw, 1803
Holocentrus flavocaeruleus Lacepede, 1802
Perca flavapurpurea Bennett, 1830
Serranus borbonicus Quoy & Gairnard, 1824
Serranus borbonius Quoy & Gairnard, 1824
Serranus delissii Bennett, 1831
Serranus flavocaeruleus (Lacepède, 1802)
Serranus flavocoeruleus (Lacepède, 1802)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Fennessy, S., Russell, B., Samoilys, M., Pollard, D. & Myers, R.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Moss, K. (Grouper and Wrasse Red List Authority)
Justification:
Epinephelus flavocaeruleus is classified as Least Concern, since it is quite widely distributed and is currently not commonly reported in catches. However, it is not clear if this reflects a decline in catches or naturally low levels of abundance, as fisheries statistics for most of the region are poor and groupers are often aggregated. They are apparently abundant on the East coast of Madagascar. It has not been possible to obtain current catch statistics from one area (Kenya North Banks) where they were relatively abundant in the late 1950s (Morgans 1964). Appreciable declines in abundance in Maldives inferred from overall grouper catch declines (>75% over eight years). Their biology has not been studied but they are likely to be slow-growing and protogynous. The species is probably exploited over its whole geographic range and most of its depth range. Because of the high relative declines reported in the Maldives, the species warrants monitoring in the future in this and other areas where targeted grouper fisheries occur.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: General
Epinephelus flavocaeruleus is found only in the Indian Ocean and is distributed from the Gulf of Aden south to Port Alfred (South Africa) and east to the northwest tip of Sumatra (Indonesia). It is also found in the islands of the western Indian Ocean, including Cargados Carajos and Rodríguez. It is not known from the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf.

Specific
Eastern Cape Province (South Africa), Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya to Somalia, Comoros, Seychelles, Réunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, southern Oman (Randall), west Indian coast, Sri Lanka, east Burma Sea, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Reported catches from deep-slope reefs in Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia are based on mis-identifications (Myers pers. comm.).
Countries:
Native:
British Indian Ocean Territory; Comoros; India; Indonesia; Kenya; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritius; Mayotte; Mozambique; Myanmar; Oman; Réunion; Seychelles; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: General
Epinephelus flavocaeruleus does not appear to be abundant across much of its range.

Fisheries-dependent data
Chater et al. (1993) did not commonly record Epinephelus flavocaeruleus during informal diving and angling surveys (8 to 45 m) on coral reefs in the St. Lucia and Maputaland Marine Reserves (northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) from 1987 to 1990. The St. Lucia reserve, which is well-policed to prevent demersal fishing, had been in existence since 1979 at that point, and yet few Epinephelus flavocaeruleus were observed. Not recorded in a survey of boat catches from non-coral reefs off the central KwaZulu-Natal coast during 1985 to 1987 (Oceanographic Research Institute 1988). Very seldom (seven individuals of >12 000 groupers) recorded from commercial boat line catches from central KZN coast 2002 to 2006 (Fennessy unpub. data).

Not reported from commercial line catches from southern Mozambique in the mid-1990s after the fishery rapidly developed following 20 years of light fishing effort owing to civil war (Dengo and David 1993, van der Elst et al. 1994). Only recorded in 2001 and 2003 (no numbers provided) during monitoring of commercial linefish catches in southern/central Mozambique (2000 to 2005; Gove, Mozambican Fisheries Research Institute, pers. comm.). Not recorded in trap catches in central Mozambique from 1997 to 1999 (Abdula et al. 2000).

A. Pages (Refrigepeche Est., pers. comm.), operating a commercial linefishing fleet out of Tamatave (central east coast) in Madagascar, reported that this species is abundant (possible confusion with E. multinotatus).

Morgans (1964) recorded relatively high numbers (7.5 % by no. to overall catch of serranids) of this species in catches on the North Kenya Banks.

Nzioka (1979) recorded catching 13 specimens from 1974 to 1977 as part of a survey of reefs between Mafia Island (Tanzania) and the North Kenya Banks which caught 130 other serranid fishes.

Overall grouper catch in the Maldives have declined appreciably since the beginning of the fishery in 1997, and particularly since the 2004 tsunami. Catch in 1997 was one million groupers overall, but by 2005 down to 250,000.

Fisheries-independent data
In a more formal survey, Chater et al. (1995) did not record this species in shallow (9 to 13 m) UVC surveys in the St. Lucia and Maputaland Marine Reserves between 1987 and 1992. On the west coast of India, this species was only recorded at one of nine shallow water (2 to 28 m) sites surveyed in shallow water (2 to 28 m), and at a low relative abundance compared to other groupers (Sluka and Lazarus unpub.) Also reported in catches from Reunion (D. Miossec, pers. comm. IFREMER) but lumped with several other species. Not reported in >130 shallow (<30 m) SCUBA dives in southern Mozambique between Ponta do Ouro and Inhaca (Robertson 1996, Pereira 2003).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: General
Epinephelus flavocaeruleus is a reef-associated species. Juveniles inhabit shallow reefs while adults are found on deeper coral and non-coral reefs from 10 to 150 m. Maximum size of at least 90 cm TL, 17 kg.

Feeding
Epinephelus flavocaeruleusfeeds on a variety of fishes, crabs, shrimps, spiny lobsters, squids, and small octopi (Morgans 1964).

Growth and reproduction
Given the relatively large size, they are likely to be slow-growing, and probably protogynous. Ripe fish obtained in January on the North Kenya Banks and in October off Mafia Island (Nzioka 1977). Reproductively active fish were caught in August and November, the former month coinciding with very large catches (Morgans 1964). Females mature at around 50 cm (Morgans 1982).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): General
Loss of habitat is likely the greatest threat to Epinephelus flavocaeruleus, with episodes of coral reef bleaching in the range of this species are likely to occur increasingly as SST increases (Sheppard 2003). Dynamiting of reefs, fishing with poisons and netting on reefs have resulted in loss of habitat in several countries, such as Tanzania, Indonesia and Malaysia (Spalding et al. 2001, Kunzmann 2004).

Overfishing
Overfishing is also a possible threat, although most of the fishing effort in the region is small-scale, is largely unregulated and can generally be assumed to be increasing (e.g. Martosubroto 2005, Cunningham and Bodiguel 2006, Morgan 2006, Flewwelling and Hosch 2006). The majority of this is concentrated on shallower reefs, so the deeper regions of this species’ habitat are less exploited, particularly by small-scale fishers.

In the Maldives, Epinephelus flavocaeruleus is part of the live fish trade (Sattar and Adam 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Epinephelus flavocaeruleus occurs in marine protected areas in parts of its range. Only 225 km² of reefs are no take-areas in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique (Wells et al. 2007) and it is no clear how much compliance there is in Tanzania and Mozambique. In KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, most of the north coast which contains coral reefs is protected by a 145 km long MPA in which no demersal fishing is allowed, and is strictly enforced. It is intended that this MPA and the southern Mozambique coast from Ponta d’Ouro to Maputo will be incorporated into a Transboundary MPA, with areas zoned for protection, which will offer further protection to this species. In South Africa, as part of a suite of restricted species, a maximum of five individuals of this species may be retained by recreational fishers in one day; no limits for commercial fishers. In Mozambique, a maximum of 10 individuals of demersal species may be retained by recreational fishers. Quotas under currently under consideration in the Maldives (500 fish per year-smallest quota of any species of grouper).

Citation: Fennessy, S., Russell, B., Samoilys, M., Pollard, D. & Myers, R. 2008. Epinephelus flavocaeruleus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 August 2014.
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