Beryx splendens 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Beryciformes Berycidae

Scientific Name: Beryx splendens Lowe, 1834
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Splendid Alfonsino, Alfonsin, Alfonsino, Beryx, Golden Eye Perch, Lowes Berix, Lowe's Beryx , Slender Alfonsino, Slender Beryx
French Béryx, Beryx Long, Béryx Long
Spanish Alfonsin a Casta Cumprida, Alfonsino Besugo, Besugo Americano
Beryx mollis Abe [T.] 1959

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-04-14
Assessor(s): Iwamoto, T., McEachran, J.D., Polanco Fernandez, A., Moore, J. & Russell, B.
Reviewer(s): Weller, S., Strongin, K., Polidoro, B. & Carpenter, K.E.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Defex, T.
Beryx splendens is distributed circumglobally where it occurs in localized aggregations over the continental slope associated with deep-sea coral habitats. Age at first maturity is approximately six to eight years, they have been aged up to 23 years and growth is slow. There is evidence that it is susceptible to population declines due to overfishing. It is commercially exploited by deep-water trawl operations especially over seamounts throughout its range, which may also be causing damage to the habitat. It is recommended to carry further research on the population status of this species, specially on the regions that is commercially exploited. There are some seamounts in the Atlantic that are protected from trawling. It is not exploited off the Cape Verdes, Mauritania, or Nigeria. It is listed as Least Concern. 

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Beryx splendens is a circumglobal fish species, excluding the northeast Pacific and possibly Mediterranean Sea (Paxton 1999). It is circumglobally distributed from 65°N-45°S in tropical through cold-temperate regions on the continental slope at 10-1,300 m depth (usually deeper than 150 m) in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, but not the eastern north Pacific or most equatorial regions (Mundy 2005). It occurs worldwide in warm seas.

In the western Atlantic, it is found from the Nova Scotia (Moore et. al 2003) to the Gulf of Mexico (Maul 1986). In the western north Atlantic it is distributed from 200-1,000 m depth in the New England region as well as from Browns Bank (east of 41‚°31'N, 55,°1 l'W) south to Brazil (Moore et al. 2003). In the western central Atlantic it ranges from Maine, USA to Brazil from depths of 198 m to 1,006 m (Kells and Carpenter 2011). This species can also occur at depths from 25 m to 1,240 m (Moore 2002). It is also known to occur at the Corner Rising Seamounts (Moore 2002).

In the eastern Atlantic, it can be found off southwestern Europe and the Canary Islands (Maul 1990) southward to South Africa (Heemstra 1986). In the eastern central Atlantic, it is known from the Azores, Great Meteor Seamount, Madeira, Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, St. Helena, Walvis Ridge and Morocco to Namibia (Moore in press). It has also been reported from the Mediterranean (Orsi Relini et al. 1995, Ligas et al. 2010, Psomadakis et al. 2006). Heemstra and Heemstra (2004) describes the depth range of this species as 160-800 m. Vakily et al. (a study by FishBase on West African fishes; 2002) reports B. splendens as distributed off of the Cape Verde Islands and Mauritantia. In a trawl survey conducted off the northwest coast of Africa between the years 1962-1973, this species was caught from 280-600 m depth (Maurin and Quero 1982). This species was described as frequently occurring in a trawl survey conducted off the coast of Namibia between the years 1992-1996 (Hamukuaya et al. 2001). In exploratory surveys conducted on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, this species was captured south of 48°N (Hareide and Garnes 2001). It has also been collected off the Atlantic slope of Ireland (Blacker 1962).

In the Indo-Pacific, it is found in East Africa (including Saya de Malha Bank) to Japan, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand (Paulin et al. 1989). The limited number of records in the western Pacific is doubtless the result of limited fishing effort below 200 m (Paxton 1999). In the eastern Pacific, it is found off the coast of Chile (Nakamura et al. 1986). Its depth range is between 25-1,300 m (Paxton 1999) but is most commonly found between 400-600 m (Bianchi et al. 1999). In the southwestern Pacific this species has been recorded from 25-1,300 m depth off of New Caledonia and New Zealand (Fricke et al. 2011). Near Hawaii, it has been recorded from Cross Seamount and Necker Island to Bank 10, and the Hancock and Koko Seamounts from 10-880m (usually deeper than 163 m; Mundy 2005). Off of Japan, this species ranges from Kushiro southward (Nakabo 2002).
Countries occurrence:
Algeria; American Samoa; Angola; Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Australia (Macquarie Is.); Bahamas; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Barbados; Benin; Bermuda; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Brazil; British Indian Ocean Territory; Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada; Cape Verde; Chile (Easter Is.); China; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Colombia; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Cook Islands; Côte d'Ivoire; Cuba; Curaçao; Disputed Territory (Paracel Is.); Djibouti; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Fiji; France; French Guiana; French Southern Territories (Amsterdam-St. Paul Is., Mozambique Channel Is.); Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Gibraltar; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Iceland; India (Andaman Is., Nicobar Is.); Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kenya; Kiribati (Phoenix Is.); Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Liberia; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Martinique; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mexico; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Montserrat; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Nigeria; Niue; Norfolk Island; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Portugal (Azores, Madeira, Portugal (mainland)); Puerto Rico; Qatar; Réunion; Russian Federation; Saint Barthélemy; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (Ascension, Saint Helena (main island), Tristan da Cunha); Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; Sao Tomé and Principe; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa (Marion-Prince Edward Is.); Spain (Canary Is., Spain (mainland)); Sri Lanka; Sudan; Suriname; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Togo; Tokelau; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turks and Caicos Islands; Tuvalu; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States; United States Minor Outlying Islands (Howland-Baker Is., Johnston I.); Vanuatu; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Viet Nam; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Wallis and Futuna; Western Sahara; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – Antarctic; Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Mediterranean and Black Sea; Pacific – western central; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – southeast; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – eastern central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):1300
Upper depth limit (metres):25
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Caribbean: Beryx splendens is a relatively common fish within its natural habitat. A study of the populations of fishes along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in 2001 reports that south of 48 degrees latitude, B. splendens is one of the top two dominant and most abundant fish along the ridge (Hareide and Garnes 2001). There are 206 specimens of this species on record worldwide in 129 geocodes (FishNet2 2012). Commercial fishing of stock of B. splendens was conducted using bottom long lining from February 1988 to July 1991 in the Exclusive Economic Zone of New Caledonia and the total catch over this period was 1169 metric tons for a fishing effort of 4,691,635 hooks (Grandperrin and Lehodey 1996).

Eastern Central Atlantic: Beryx splendens often forms dense aggregations (Moore in press). 

Africa: In an experimental fishing survey conducted in 2001 on the Sierra Leone Rise in the Gulf of Guinea, B. splendens accounted for more than 90% of the total catch between 200-800 m depth (Ramos et al. 2001). In a trawl survey conducted off the northwestern African coast between the years 1962-1973, a total of 79 specimens of B. splendens were captured between 26°49'N and 17°09'N with the largest catch occurring off of Western Sahara. This small catch size is indicative of the rare occurrence of this species in the region (n=27 in 1962, n=23 in 1968, n=19 in 1971, n=10 in 1973 where the number of stations sampled was doubled; Maurin and Quero 1982). This species was described as frequently occurring in a trawl survey conducted off the coast of Namibia between the years 1992-1996 (Hamukuaya et al. 2001). 

North Atlantic: In a trawl survey conducted on the New England Seamounts (NAFO Division 6EF) and the Corner Seamounts (NAFO Division 6GH) in the Northwest Atlantic, B. splendens was the main species captured at 38% of the total catch for pelagic gear and 93% of the total catch for bottom gear (Duran et al. 2005). In exploratory surveys conducted on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, this species was considered a dominant part of the stations sampled south of 48 degrees North (Hareide and Garnes 2001). In a study conducted on the Seine and Sedlo Seamounts, B. splendens dominated the upper-slope assemblages (less than 800 m) and a large reproductive aggregation was recorded at the edge of the Sedlo Plateau (Menezes et al. 2009).

New Zealand: In trawl surveys conducted on the Chatham Rise (east of New Zealand) between 1992-1999, B. splendens was commonly captured (mean catch rate 42.7kg/km2 and occurrence 32%; Bull et al. 2001). 

Cape Verde Islands: This species frequently occurred in a trawl survey off the Cape Verde Islands (Menezes et al. 2004).  

Azores, Canaries, Madeira: A genetics study that compared B. splendens from the Canaries and Madeira concluded that gene flow between the two populations is low and therefore should be considered two distinct subpopulations (Schonhuth et al. 2005).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Caribbean: Beryx splendens is a benthopelagic fish that inhabits the bottoms of the outer continental shelf and slope, often over sea mounts, as well as underwater ridges (Paxton 1999). This species prefers hard ground and rocky reef areas. It feeds mainly on fish, crustaceans and cephalopods (Dubockin and Kotlyn 1989). There is a vertical migration for feeding purposes proportional to the diurnal migration of its prey (Vinnichenko 1997). Females outnumber males by a ratio of about 1:1.35 (Gonzalez et al. 2003). This species usually experiences its peak spawning period during the summer, in December and January in the southern hemisphere (Lehodey et al. 1997) and July through September in the northern hemisphere (Gonzalez et al. 2003). The length at which half of the population reaches sexual maturity is 33.2 cm for females and 34.5 cm for males. The estimated fecundity of females between the lengths of 34-40 cm fork length is 270,000 to 675,000 eggs (Lehodey et al. 2003). The eggs are oviparous and are spawned in about 10-12 batches over a period of four days (Lehodey et al. 1997). The eggs and the larvae are both pelagic initially in vegetative zones but are brought to the breeding grounds as they reach maturity by ocean currents and eddies (Lehodey et al. 1997). The most common length of this species of fish is 40 cm, but it has been measured up to 70 cm (Sommer et al. 1996).

This species forms dense schools and feeds on fishes, crustaceans and cephalopods (Kells and Carpenter 2011). It can reach 23 years of age (Adachi et al. 2002) and females have a higher growth rate than males. Males reach maturity at the age of seven to eight years and females at six years. Feeding periods for this species usually occurs during morning and evening twilight hours and increase with the intensity of the tidal flow as the availability of food decreases (Lehodey and Grandperrin 1996). In the Atlantic ocean, B. splendens begin to mature in their second year of life, 19 to 20 cm standard length and most are mature by the fifth or sixth year (Kotlyar 1987). During the early stages of life, growth is probably rapid and after hatching, larvae and juveniles are pelagic for a few months before the juveniles settle on the bottom of shallow seamounts. As B. splendens mature, they move to deeper water and enter the domain of the commercial fishery. The growth rate of this species also depends upon temperature fluctuations and particularly on the El Niño Southern Oscillations (ENSO) (Lehodey and Grandperrin 1996). Generation Length is six years (calculated as: (1/adult mortality) + age at first reproduction).

Eastern Central Atlantic: Beryx splendens is a benthopelagic species with a maximum size of 55 cm SL, (commonly to 40 cm). Vakily et al. (2002) describes B. splendens as benthopelagic with a maximum size of 70 cm TL off of West Africa. This species forms dense aggregations over the continental shelf and upper slope on reefs especially near habitats with complicated bottom relief (Pakhorukov and Parin 2012), and commonly near seamounts where it vertically migrates to shallower water at night (Vinnichenko 1997). It feeds on fish, crustaceans, zooplankton and squid (Moore in press, Heemstra and Heemstra 2004, Galaktionov 1984). Juveniles are pelagic (Bianchi et al. 1999). Some as of yet unpublished research may show that mature individuals are capable of migrating to reproductive areas via currents and meso-scale eddies (Flores et al. 2012). It has asynchronous gonadal development (Flores et al. 2012). This species may follow oceanic currents suggesting long distance dispersal (Levy-Hartmann et al. 2011). 

Cape Verde: In a survey conducted off the Cape Verde Islands, this species ranged in size from 26-36.5 cm FL (Pereira et al. 2012). 

Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands: In a longline groundfish survey conducted off the Azores archipelago, this species ranged in size from 16-38 cm FL (Rosa et al. 2006). In a study conducted in the Azores Archipelago, B. splendens had a size at first maturity of 23 cm FL and age at first maturity of two years (Estacio et al. 2001). In a study on B. splendens caught off the Azores, specimens ranged in size from 15-43.5 cm FL, females were aged from one to 12 years and males were from one to nine years old (Anibal et al. 1998). In a study comparing specimens across the Macaronesian Archipelago, spawning seasons varied for B. splendens: September–March in the Azores, March–June in Madeira, and July–September in the Canary Islands. Size at maturity for Madeira was 32 cm FL, the Canary Islands 30 cm, and the Azores 23 cm. It was speculated that the differences in size at maturity between Madeira and the Canaries versus the Azores may be explained by higher exploitation rates in the Azores (Gonzalez et al. 2003). In another study, fish from the Canary Islands were aged one to nine years (18.2-38.9 cm FL), in Madeira zero to twelve years (15.2-41.0 cm FL), and in the Azores zero to eleven years (15.3-43.0 cm FL) where the growth rate was fast in the first year and slowed significantly after that (Rico et al. 2001). In a diet study conducted in the Canary Islands, B. decadactylus and B. splendens mainly fed on small fishes, crustaceans and cephalopods (Durr and Gonzalez 2002).

Indian Ocean: In a study in the south-west Indian Ocean, B. splendens were aged from one to 14 years and size ranged from 15.5-43.5 cm FL (Santamaria et al. 2006).

Pacific: In a study conducted on larval samples of B. splendens and B. decadactylus from the Southeast Hancock Seamount in the central North Pacific Ocean, size at flexion was 3.7-6 mm SL and juveniles were greater than 15 mm SL, larvae had a long planktonic life stage, spawning season was in the summer, and samples were collected from zero to 50 m, but with the greatest amount less than 25 m depth (Mundy 1990). A genetics study on this species in the southwestern Pacific revealed evidence for gene flow at an inter-oceanic scale (Hoarau and Borsa 2000). A study off New Caledonia in the southwestern Pacific suggested that the growth of B. splendens increases during El Nino events and decreases during La Nina events due to fluctuations in temperature (Lehodey and Grandperrin 1996). Also off of New Caledonia, females had a higher growth rate than males, sexual maturity occurred between seven to eight years old for males and six years for females. Maximum age was about 20 years and maximum size was greater than 50 cm FL (Lehodey and Grandperrin 1996). In another study off of New Caledonia, the size of B. splendens tended to increase with depth (Lehodey et al. 1994). In New Caledonia, the spawning period of this species occurs during the southern summer (peak in December-January), minimum length at maturity for females was 28 cm FL and 33 cm for males, maximum potential fecundity was between 270,000-675,000 eggs for fish 34-40 cm FL, and larvae and juveniles were carried to settling zones via currents in an oceanic eddy system (Lehodey et al. 1997). 

New Zealand: In a study off of northern New Zealand, females were overall larger than males, observed growth was slower than in studies from Japanese and Atlantic waters, and full recruitment to the commercial fishery occurred at age five with recruitment occurring February-July (Massey and Horn 1990).
In a diet study conducted on the Chatham Rise to the east of New Zealand, prey items were predominantly crustaceans and mesopelagic fishes which included prawns and myctophids. Results also indicated that B. splendens were moderately selective feeders that foraged primarily in the mesopelagic layers (Horn et al. 2010).

North Atlantic: Studies on fisheries catches for B. splendens on the Corner Rising Seamounts revealed sizes ranging from 20-59 cm FL (mainly 34-43 cm), weights from 1.2-1.7 kg, ages from two to 11 years, a relatively high growth rate in the first year (mean length at age one was 8 cm, age two was 15 cm, and age three was 22 cm), age at first maturity was two at a mean length of 18cm, all specimens had reached sexual maturity by age five to six years at 25-30 cm, spawning occurred between July-August in bottom waters of 7-12 degrees Celsius and was intermittent with individual estimated spawning periods of two months in duration, and young (25-98 mm) were captured between zero to 600 m depth in autumn (Vinnichenko 1997). In a study conducted on the Seine and Sedlo Seamounts, B. splendens dominated the upper-slope assemblages (less than 800 m) and a large reproductive aggregation was recorded at the edge of the Sedlo Plateau (Menezes et al. 2009).

Japan: A study on this species off the Izu Islands on the Pacific side of Japan aged samples between two to 23 years and lengths ranged between 17.9-47.8 cm (Adachi et al. 2000). Another study off the Kanto District of Japan aged B. splendens from one to 10 years old with size ranging from 21.8-41.1 cm FL (Taniuchi et al. 2004). 

Chile: In a study on B. splendens on seamounts of the Juan Fernandez Archipelago off Chile the spawning season was from June-November and size at 50% maturity was 39.7 cm FL for females and 36.7 cm for males (Flores et al. 2012). In a genetics study on B. splendens off Japan and New Caledonia, there was significant evidence for trans-oceanic gene flow between subpopulations (Akimoto et al. 2006). 

Southwestern Atlantic: In a study conducted in the southwestern Atlantic this species ranged in size from 18-58 cm (mostly 38-43 cm), diet included fishes, tunicates and small crustaceans, daily vertical migrations were exhibited, and spawning period from October to April with the peak in January-February (Kakora 2005).
Generation Length (years):6

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Beryx splendens is a popular food fish throughout the world. This species is commercially valuable in many areas throughout the world, including Madeira, Japan and New Caledonia where it is caught in longline and trawl fisheries (Paxton 2002).

: This species is not commercially exploited

Eastern Central Atlantic: It is caught by trawl or longline in the eastern Atlantic and elsewhere (Moore in press, Heemstra and Heemstra 2004). It is also caught as bycatch in the bottom trawl hake fishery and in the midwater trawl fisheries (Bianchi et al. 1999). It is often targeted by seamount fisheries (Morato et al. 2006). This species is not commercially exploited in the Cape Verde Islands (Monteiro pers. comm. 2013) or off Mauritania (Camara pers. comm. 2013). Beryx splendens and B. decadactylus occur as bycatch in the Spanish bottom-longline fleet that has been targeting hakes (Merluccius senegalensis and M. polli) since the 1990s off of Mauritania (Ramos et al. 2001). The deep water fisheries of the southeast Atlantic (FAO area 47) occur almost exclusively in Namibian waters, where landings of B. splendens peaked at more than 4,000 tonnes in 1997 but declined thereafter to 300 tonnes in 2009 (de Barros and Cochrane 2011).

Azores: It is targeted in the demersal fishery of the Azores Archipelago. Fishery statistics are not separated out from Beryx decadactylus, which occurs mainly as bycatch but is marketed as well (Aboim 2005). The Azorean landings of Beryx species were relatively higher in 1993-2003 than in 2004-2009 (Menezes et al. 2013). Beryx species are described as being heavily exploited on seamounts in the Azorean Archipelago between 1992-2002 (ICES Report 2002). There is concern about sequential depletion and underreporting in commercial fisheries from international waters and data was considered insufficient to complete an assessment in 2003 (ICES Report 2004). Catch data from ICES Report 2004 for B. splendens and B. decadactylus in tonnes are: 1988: 122 103 225; 1989: 113 147 260; 1990: 137 201 339; 1991: 203 168 371; 1992: 274 176 450; 1993: 317 217 533; 1994: 404 231 636; 1995: 335 194 529; 1996: 379 171 550; 1997: 268 111 378; 1998: 161 68 229; 1999: 119 56 175; 2000: 172 37 209; 2001: 182 17 199; 2002: 223 20 242; 2003: 150 22 172.

Canary Islands: Off the Canary Islands (Gran Carania and El Hierro), both B. splendens and B. decadactylus are captured via handlines and bottom drop lines in a commercial artisanal fishery (Durr and Gonzalez 2002).

Spain: Beryx decadactylus and B. splendens are variably targeted by a deep-water longline fishery off of northwest Spain (Pinheiro et al. 2001).

Indian Ocean: The Soviet fishing fleet began targeting B. splendens in the 1990s on Indian Ocean seamounts and continues today, however, reliable assessment data does not exist (Rogers 2012).

: This is a commercially important species in the Pacific side of Japan (Adachi et al. 2000). As reported in 1959, this species is/was targeted from the fall to spring seasons by hook and line in Sagami Bay and off of Chiba Prefecture, Japan (Abe 1959). It has been exploited off of Japan since 1870 with further development occurring since 1970 and total catch size and mean body size has been declining since 1987 (Adachi et al. 2000). A study conducted on fish sampled from Japanese markets found B. splendens to have consistently high levels of total mercury (0.78± 0.56 mg/g) with the highest levels occurring in fish with body weights between 1.7 to 2.6 kg (1.7 kg, approximately eight years old; Yamashita et al. 2005).

Oceania: It is targeted by commercial fisheries on seamounts off of New Zealand (Clark and O'Driscoll 2003). The average price for B. splendens in Sydney and Melbourne fish markets between 1996-2002 was $2.03 (Klaer and Smith 2012).

North Atlantic: The Russian trawl fishery for this species at Corner Rise Seamounts has landed 19,000 t since 1976 (Moore 2002). This species is usually fish by bottom trawl or long-line (Lehodey et al. 1994). A deep sea fishery targeting B. splendens has been operated by the Soviet fleet since 1976 on the Corner Rising seamounts in NAFO Subarea 6. Studies on these catches revealed size ranging from 20-59 cm FL (mainly 34-43 cm), weights from 1.2-1.7 kg, ages from two to 11 years, a relatively high growth rate in the first year (mean length at age one was 8cm, age two was 15cm, and age three was 22cm), age at first maturity was two at a mean length of 18cm, all specimens had reached sexual maturity by age five to six years at 25-30cm, spawning occurred between July-August in bottom waters of 7-12 degrees Celsius and was intermittent with individual estimated spawning periods of two months in duration, and young (25-98 mm) were captured between zero to 600 m depth in autumn (Vinnichenko 1997).

Southeastern Atlantic
: It is exploited on the Vavilov Ridge with some daily landings capable of reaching up to 40-50 tons (Parin et al. 2010).

Pacific: Large-scale fisheries on the Hawaiian and Emperor Seamount chains in the north Pacific targeted B. splendens in the 1960s-1980s. Valuable fisheries for this species also exist in the southwest Pacific (Clark 2009). A 2004 report described the bottomfish fishery of the main Hawaiian Islands to be experiencing overfishing (Moffitt et al. 2004). Catch data for this species was not published and/or collected from 1974-1975; however, from 1976 to 1981 there was an overall catch increased at all seamounts except for Hancock (Humphreys et al. 1984). Declines in CPUE are observed in the Southern Hemisphere during summer. This season is the breeding period for B. splendens in New Caledonian waters and the decline may be due to breeding migrations (Lehodey et al. 1994, Chikuni 1971).

Chile: It has been fished off of Chile since 1989, gained importance in 1999, and experienced the peak in 2003 at 9,000 tons. In 2004, the fishery was declared fully exploited and reduced fishing pressure by introducing an annual quota of 3,000 tons. However, in 2009 and 2010 less than half of this quota was reached (Galvez et al. 2010). It was declared overfished and subsequently closed after the spawning biomass was estimated at 12% of the unexploited biomass (Wiff et al. 2012).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Beryx splendens is a very commercially viable species of fish. It is marketed frozen and eaten steamed, fried, broiled, boiled, microwaved and baked (Frimodt 1995). Global catch statistics for Alfonsino fishes, in general, reflect a trend upwards between the years of 1980 and 2003. In 1982, about 200 tonnes were taken, in 1985, 2,000 tonnes. In the years 1991, 1997, and 2003, 5,500, 9,100,  and 157,000 tonnes were harvested each year, respectively. In 2009, the tonnage had decreased to abut 5,500 tonnes, but spiked back up to around 9,800 tonnes in 2010 (FishStatJ: Retrieved September 10, 2012).

In the case of B. splendens, high longevity, slow growth and moderate size of maturity make the stock more prone to overexploitation because of a rapid reduction in surplus production (Ricker 1963, Booth and Buxton 1997). Mature individuals also have medium-small ovaries, suggesting that they are moderately fecund and that a moderate number of eggs are released during the spawning (Lehodey et al. 1997). As a result, it may be more sensitive to heavy fishery impact than those species exhibiting a higher reproductive output (Smale 1988). The total catch size for B. splendens off Japan has decreased since 1987; the landing per cruise is declining. The mean size of the fish also decreases each year (Adachi et al. 2000). It may be vulnerable to overfishing and this may be because it inhabits seamounts which offer limited habitat and the slow growth rates of the species (Lehodey et al. 1994). 

The North Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) recognizes that demersal fisheries on the Corner Rising, Orphan Knoll, Newfoundland and New England Seamounts which target Beryx splendens have been experiencing significant declines in catch levels since the 1970s, likely due to the fishery being unsustainable (Kulka et al. 2007). Beryx species may experience increased threats from overexploitation due to their aggregating behaviour. Further study is needed on the connectivity of subpopulations between seamounts in order to determine the rate of recolonization of a seamount following fishing activity (Norse et al. 2012). Gonzalez et al. (2003) stated that B. splendens is more susceptible to growth overfishing and population depletion due to its specialized life history strategy. Deep-sea corals are often damaged by trawling operations. This may result in habitat loss for Beryx species in part of their range (Reed and Ross 2005). In a study on the seamounts off New Zealand where there exist fisheries for B. splendens, the authors were able to demonstrate the deleterious effects from trawling on the habitat (Clark and Rowden 2009). A 2004 NMFS reported that the bottomfish fishery of the main Hawaiian Islands was overfished (Moffitt et al. 2004).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Globally this species could be potentially overfished in some areas. This species often occurs in international waters, and there are no conservation measures in place. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration established a Preliminary Fishery Management Plan for foreign ground fish fishing in the Fishery Conservation Zone, especially for the Hancock Seamounts. Foreign fishing for seamount groundfishes has been exclusively conducted by trawling since that time (Seki and Tagami 1986).

In 2006, the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) closed areas of the Corner Rising, Orphan Knoll, Newfoundland and New England Seamounts to demersal fishing where the main target species is Beryx splendens. This action was taken after concerns that significant declines in catch levels since the 1970s was likely due to the fishery being unsustainable (Kulka et al. 2007). In 2001, New Zealand protected 19 seamounts (Clark and O'Driscoll 2003). The B. splendens fishery off of Chile has been closed since 2010 due to collapse (Flores et al. 2012). The South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO) established in 1997, manages the B. splendens fishery in FAO area 47 (de Barros and Cochrane 2011) where the current total allowable catch is 200 tonnes for the SEAFO CA for 2013 and 2014 (SEAFO 2013).

Citation: Iwamoto, T., McEachran, J.D., Polanco Fernandez, A., Moore, J. & Russell, B. 2015. Beryx splendens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T16425354A16510182. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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