|Scientific Name:||Mycteroperca phenax|
|Species Authority:||Jordan & Swain, 1884|
Mycteroperca falcata Jordan & Swain, 1884 subspecies phenax
Mycteroperca phenax Jordan & Swain, 1884
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Least Concern ver 3.1|
|Assessor/s:||Rocha, L., McGovern, J.C., Craig, M.T., Choat, J.H., Ferreira, B., Bertoncini, A.A. & Craig, M.|
|Reviewer/s:||Sadovy, Y. & Moss, K. (Grouper and Wrasse Red List Authority)|
Mycteroperca phenax is listed as Least Concern because they are a relatively widespread and common species not currently in decline. There are several studies indicating that the species although heavily fished, is not being overfished and several regulations and marine protected areas are established. Additional habitat protection is expected to take effect in 2007.
Mycteroperca phenax occurs on the continental coast of North and Central America, from North Carolina (USA) to Venezuela. Juveniles are occasionally found as far north as Massachusetts (USA).
A vagrant was recently collected in the northeastern Atlantic in the Azores (Portugal) (Morato et al. 2004).
Native:Aruba; Bahamas; Belize; Colombia; Costa Rica; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Netherlands Antilles; Nicaragua; Panama; United States; Venezuela
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:||
Atlantic – western central
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
It is an abundant species below 60 m, and it is not currently in decline.
The US South Atlantic stock was assessed in 1997. The Gulf of Mexico stock has not been assessed. The US South Atlantic stock was not experiencing overfishing and was not overfished (Potts and Brennan 2001). The US 2006 Report to Congress indicates that the overfished status of scamp in the Atlantic was unknown since biomass with respect to a minimum stock size threshold was not specified by the 1997 assessment. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico annual commercial catch have been fairly constant. Recreational landings show a good bit of fluctuation.
Median length decreased significantly from 610 mm TL in 1979 to 1989 to 570 mm TL in 1990 to 1997, although there were no significant differences in the median age, size at maturity, and age at maturity between periods. The percentage of males declined from 34% to 21% for specimens >500 mm TL, although the sample size was much smaller during the earlier period (336 vs 1,645). The percentage of scamp age 10 and older declined from 17% in 1979 to 1989 to 7% in 1990 to 1997 (Haris et al. 2002).
|Habitat and Ecology:||
Mycteroperca phenax is a reef-associated species found over ledges and high-relief rocky bottoms in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and at low-profile bottoms at depths of 30 to 100 m in North Carolina. Scamp were the most abundant grouper in areas of living Oculina coral formations at depths of 70 to 100 m off the east coast of Florida. Oculina banks are threatened by bottom trawling, and aggregations of scamp are strongly associated with this habitat (Koenig et al. 2000). This species apparently moved inshore when bottom temperature fell below 8.6°C. Juveniles found in shallow water at jetties and in mangrove areas.
Scamp are protogynous, with females dominating sizes less than 70.0 cm (27.8 in). Spawning occurs from February through July in the South Atlantic Bight and in the Gulf of Mexico, with a peak in March to mid-May. Hydration of eggs occurs primarily during the morning and late afternoon, which indicates that scamp spawn during late afternoon and evening. Spawning individuals have been captured off South Carolina and St. Augustine, Florida at depths of 33 to 93 m. Off the Carolinas, scamp spawned from April through August with a peak in May and June, and fed on fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans (Matheson et al. 1986).
Scamp aggregate to spawn. Spawning locations and time of spawning overlaps with gag. Fishery-independent sampling revealed that: (1) spawning probably occurred during the late afternoon and evening, and (2) higher proportions of scamp spawned around new moon and full moon.
Size at maturity and mortality
Scamp live for at least 30 years, and attain sizes as great as 107.0 cm (42.4 in) TL and 14.2 kg (31.3 lbs). Natural mortality rate is estimated to be 0.15 (Potts and Brennan 2001). Length and age at first spawning of females off North Carolina to southeast Florida is 30.0 to 35.0 cm (11.9 to 13.8 in) TL and age one. Length and age at 50% maturity is 35.3 cm (13.9 in) TL and 1.28 years, respectively (Haris et al. 2002). In a study conducted in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, all fish larger than 35.0 cm TL were sexually mature.
Fish are the primary prey of this species.
|Major Threat(s):||Oculina coral formations are threatened by bottom trawling, and aggregations (both spawning and feeding) of scamp are strongly associated with this habitat. Since there are no signs of overfishing, the major current threat is habitat destruction; Oculina banks are very fragile and easily destroyed.|
The grouper fishery is managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council under the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan. Current regulations include a limited entry fishery where a limited number of commercial fishing permits are available, a seasonal closure during March and April to reduce the commercial catch and minimum size limits. These regulations have helped the stocks to recover; the most recent stock assessments show that scamp is not overfished or undergoing overfishing. Regulations are under consideration that would establish a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the commercial grouper fishery in the southeast. A TAC will greatly enhance the sustainability of the grouper populations.
There are closed areas in the Gulf of Mexico (Madison-Swanson) and South Atlantic (Oculina HAPC) where spawning of scamp probably occurs. In addition, US Amendment 14 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan of the South Atlantic Region will be implemented during 2007. This amendment implement protection to Oculina Banks which harbour spawning aggregation of this species. Spawning scamp have been collected from several of the proposed South Atlantic MPAs.
|Citation:||Rocha, L., McGovern, J.C., Craig, M.T., Choat, J.H., Ferreira, B., Bertoncini, A.A. & Craig, M. 2008. Mycteroperca phenax. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 May 2013.|
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