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Parapercis colias

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES PINGUIPEDIDAE

Scientific Name: Parapercis colias
Species Authority: (Forster, 1801)
Common Name(s):
English Blue Cod, New Zealand Blue Cod, Sandperch
Synonym(s):
Enchelyopus colias Forster, 1801

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-02-04
Assessor(s): Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Chenery, A. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)
Reviewer(s): Carpenter, K.E., Livingstone, S. & Polidoro, B.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H., Lutz, M., Batchelor, A., Jopling, B., Kemp, K., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Smith, J. & Livingston, F.
Justification:
Parapercis colias has been assessed as Least Concern.  While this species is reported to be the most commercially and recreationally important fish species for New Zealand, there is no indication that harvest is unsustainable or causing a significant population decline.  Declines have been noted from a few localised areas, but the major part of the fishery is reported to be sustainable and allowing fish to attain a size that supports the MSY.  Harvest management has been implemented, as well as strategies for minimising by-catch in areas where these levels were highest.  Further research is needed on sub-fishery BCO7 and monitoring of fishing effort across all fisheries is needed to ensure the stable landings are not a result of increasing fishing effort.  Measures should be taken to protect important spawning grounds.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Parapercis colias occurs around all coasts of New Zealand and the Chatham Islands.
Countries:
Native:
New Zealand (Chatham Is., Kermadec Is., North Is., South Is.)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Pacific – southwest
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The greatest population densities of Parapercis colias are typically seen off the South Island of New Zealand.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Parapercis colias is a demersal species, found around rocky coastlines in areas of high seaweed and kelp density, at a depth range of 0–150 m.  It is particularly sensitive to water clarity and only occurs in very clear waters.  It feeds on small fish, crabs and shellfish.

Parapercis colias is a type of Blue Cod.  It has been shown to be a protogynous hermaphrodite.  This species reaches a maximum age of 32 years.  Individuals reach sexual maturity at different lengths and ages depending on their location.  Spawning aggregations have been noted from inshore and mid-shelf waters.
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Parapercis colias is one of the most important commercial and recreational fish species in New Zealand waters.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Parapercis colias is one of the most important commercial and recreational fish species in New Zealand waters.  The Blue Cod fishery is comprised of 10 sub-fisheries known as BCO1 to BCO10.  Total landings peaked at 954 t in 1985, the year before the Quota Management System was implemented; following that, there was a decline in landings until 1989, when there was a shift in the predominant fishing type from handlines to cod pots, after which annual landings continued to increase and approach the total allowable commercial catch (TACC).  However, annual landings have remained under the TACC limit.  Landings for the commercial fishery in 2006–2007 were reported to be 2,413 t.  The landings and TACCs for BCO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8, are considered sustainable.  It is thought these will also encourage stocks to safely reach sizes that will support the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY).  It is unknown if harvest levels in BCO7 are sustainable; there are some indications that abundance has decreased in a few localised areas.

Observations from recreational fishers imply that localised declines may be occurring in a few areas of BCO 3, 5, and 7, where fishing effort is most concentrated.

Parapercis colias is also taken as by-catch by other fisheries.  However, offshore by-catch levels are thought to be very low.  By-catch is either discarded or used as bait.

The species responds negatively to changes in water quality (nutrient enrichment, dredging and sediment run-off), through the increased turbidity and release of toxic chemicals in the sediment.  However, this is a localised threat and is not considered to pose a major threat to the entire population of this species at present.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Parapercis colias occurs in many of the marine protected areas (MPAs) around coastal New Zealand.  Since inception of these MPAs, studies have looked at changes in Blue Cod density within these reserves.  Results vary on the effectiveness of such conservation measures.  In the Kokomohua Marine Reserve in the Marlborough Sounds, densities of Blue Cod were 125% more abundant when compared to control sites.  Body size was also found to increase (Davidson 2001).  However, no such increase has been seen within the Te Tapuwae o Rangokako Marine Reserve (Freeman 2005).

The Blue Cod was the first species to be added to the Quota Management Systsem (QMS) in New Zealand.  The government now monitors catches allowing for TAC (Total Allowable Catch) limits to be set if required.

Mesh sizes have been imposed in the BCO5 fishery to minimise the by-catch of under-sized individuals by the Rock Lobster fishery.

Monitoring of the harvest levels, fishing effort, and size of this species should be continued.  Further research is needed on BCO7 to determine if the TACC is sustainable.  Efforts should be made to protect important spawning aggregations from harvesting.

Citation: Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Chenery, A. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team) 2010. Parapercis colias. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 October 2014.
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