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Epinephelus multinotatus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES EPINEPHELIDAE

Scientific Name: Epinephelus multinotatus
Species Authority: (Peters, 1876)
Common Name(s):
English White-blotched Grouper, Rankin's Cod, Rankin's Rock Cod
French Negre, Cabot Negre, Mérou Plate Grise, Plat, Vielle Plate, Vielle Plate Grise
Spanish Mero De Lunares
Synonym(s):
Epinephelus dermochirus (non Valenciennes, 1830)
Epinephelus jayakari (Boulenger, 1889)
Epinephelus leprosus Smith, 1955
Epinephelus multinotatus (Peters, 1876)
Epinephelus rankini Whitley, 1945
Epnephelus areolatus (non Forsskal, 1775)
Serranus jayakari Boulenger, 1889
Serranus multinotatus Peter, 1876

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Samoilys, M., Rocha, L. & Choat, J.H.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Moss, K. (Grouper and Wrasse Red List Authority)
Justification:
In some parts of its range, there have been declines in Epinephelus multinotatus due to overfishing, (e.g., declining catch rates up to 50 % in fisheries where it is a target species in Seychelles), but it is very widespread and so it is unlikely to have declined as much as 30 % over its whole range and is therefore listed as Least Concern. It is likely to be an uncommon grouper in much of its range. Fisheries management in place only in Seychelles and Western Australia. This species is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: General
Epinephelus mulitnotatus is a western Indian Ocean species that is distributed along mainland East Africa and in the island states (Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar), Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman and most of the Western Australia coast.

Epinephelus mulitnotatus is not listed in Australia’s Northern Territory Museum records (Barry Russell pers. comm. 30th January 2007)

Genetic sub-populations
Shark Bay, Ningaloo, Pilbara and Broome locations in western Australia recognised as separate stocks from genetic studies which supports the current approach of four separate fisheries management plans for this species (Stephenson et al. 2001).
Countries:
Native:
Australia; Bahrain; British Indian Ocean Territory; Comoros; Djibouti; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Kenya; Kuwait; Madagascar; Maldives; Mauritius; Mayotte; Mozambique; Oman; Pakistan; Qatar; Réunion; Saudi Arabia; Seychelles; Somalia; Tanzania, United Republic of; United Arab Emirates; 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 mulitnotatus has three separate sub-populations in the Indian Ocean as recognised by Heemstra and Randall (1993) based on differences in colour pattern and scale counts:

1) Western Indian Ocean
2) Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman
3) Western Australia

Within Western Australia, there are also three separate sub-populations which are all managed individually.

Fisheries dependent
Epinephelus mulitnotatus is relatively abundant in the Seychelles and recorded as the most common of the three groupers taken in the demersal handline fisheries (Mees 1992, MRAG 1996). Populations on the granitic islands are now overfished (Jan Robinson pers. comm. 2007).

Very limited national deeper (>30m) water fisheries occurring in East Africa, though hook and line, seine, traps and trawl are listed for taking groupers in Tanzanian waters. Some illegal foreign fishing vessels trawling the shelf area beyond territorial waters may be taking this species (Samoilys 2004).

E. multinotatus is the most common of the three groupers taken by the whaler and schooner fisheries in Seychelles (Robinson pers comm. 2007).

E. multinotatus is listed as occurring in catches from 2000, 2002, and 2003 from commercial hook and line vessels in Mozambique (Sean Fennessy pers. comm. 2007).

E. multinotatus taken in small-scale artisanal fishery around Réunion, as one of 19 Epinephelus species. Total catches are estimated weights provided by fishers (not very reliable) in mt and have declined from around 20 to 45 mt in 1998 to 2002, to 3 mt in 2004 to 2005, though no effort data are provided (Dominique Miossec, IFREMER, La Réunion, pers comm. January 2007).

Fisheries independent
Densities in shallow strata (
Possibly uncommon in mainland East Africa - not seen in underwater surveys (to ~20 m depth) along the Kenyan coast (Samoilys 1988, pers. obs), or in southern Tanzania’s Mnazi Bay Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park (Obura 2004), though this may reflect its deeper range.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: General
Epinephelus mulitnotatus is a reef-associated species found on drop-offs and banks throughout the Seychelles from 10 m to over 100 m (Robinson, pers. comm. 2007), and from deep rocky reefs at 20 to 110 m depths in Western Australia (Stephenson et al. 2001).

Reproduction
Spawning aggregations of Epinephelus mulitnotatus are reported during peak reproductive months (Wheeler and Ommanney 1953, Robinson et al. 2004) and probably non-aggregating spawning at other times (derived from Robinson pers. comm. 2007).

Reproductive seasonality is 12 months, with peak of 3 to 4 months (Aug. to Oct.) when spawning aggregations occur (Robinson et al., in review).

Sex change parameters (sex ratio fished and unfished, size of sex change, type of hermphroditism, etc.): M:F – 1:2.1 (lightly fished, Seychelles, Farquar atoll, Robinson et al. in review).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): General
Overfishing is the greatest threat to Epinephelus multinotatus.

Fisheries dependent
Overfishing of Epinephelus multinotatus is reported from the Mahé plateau, Seychelles by the local whaler and schooner fisheries, though fishing pressure reputedly light in the outer islands and atolls (Robinson pers comm. 2007). Growth overfishing is reported from the trawl fishery in Western Australia (Stephenson et al. 2001). Epinephelus multinotatus is taken in multispecies demersal fisheries in north Western Australia – taken by a trawl fishery in Pilbara region, and by trap and line fisheries in the Broome region, W. Australia (Stephenson et al. 2001). Epinephelus multinotatus is the most heavily fished grouper in Western Australia.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Fisheries regulations are reasonably well enforced in Seychelles, and increased protection of spawning aggregations for Epinephelus multinotatus and other grouper species is currently under discussion (Robinson et al. in review).

Fisheries management is well established in Western Australia through five separate commercial fishing zones for a mixed demersal fishery which includes E. multinotatus. The management plans are under review considering concerns of growth overfishing. Ningaloo Marine Park which is closed to commercial fishing provides protection to this species (Stephenson et al. 2001).

Citation: Samoilys, M., Rocha, L. & Choat, J.H. 2008. Epinephelus multinotatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 August 2014.
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