Lethrinus amboinensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Lethrinidae

Scientific Name: Lethrinus amboinensis Bleeker, 1854
Common Name(s):
English Ambon Emperor
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. and Van der Laan, R. (eds). 2016. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 29 September 2016. Available at: (Accessed: 29 September 2016).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-09
Assessor(s): Carpenter, K.E., Lawrence, A. & Myers, R.
Reviewer(s): Ralph, G. & Linardich, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ralph, G.
Lethrinus amboinensis is widely distributed. It is exploited and sold in markets, but appears to be relatively well-managed with stable effort and catch levels. There are no known major threats; therefore, it is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Lethrinus amboinensis is found in Indonesia, northwestern Australia, the Philippines to southern Japan, east-ward through the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Samoa and the Marquesas (Carpenter 2001). It is found at depths ranging from 5 to 30 m (Allen and Erdmann 2012).
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa; Australia; Brunei Darussalam; China; Christmas Island; Cook Islands; Disputed Territory (Paracel Is., Spratly Is.); Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; Indonesia; Japan; Kiribati (Gilbert Is.); Korea, Republic of; Malaysia; Marshall Islands; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Nauru; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Samoa; Solomon Islands; Taiwan, Province of China; Timor-Leste; Tonga; Tuvalu; Vanuatu; Wallis and Futuna
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – western central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – eastern central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):30
Upper depth limit (metres):5
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Lethrinus amboinensis is heavily exploited in the Philippines and large individuals still occur commonly in the markets (K. Carpenter pers. comm. 2015). 

American Samoa
This species is managed within the bottomfish resource management unit in American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. Bottomfish complexes were not depleted and were not experiencing overfishing in 2010. The status of this stock is based on fishery-dependent data, and there are currently no fishery-independent measures of relative or absolute bottomfish abundance (Brodziak et al. 2012). The commercial bottomfish fishery in American Samoa was established from 1982-1985. Of all bottomfish species landed in American Samoa, L. rubioperculatus and other emperors, Etelis corruscans and Lutjanus kasmira are the top landings in pounds comprising about 77% of total landings. Stock assessment of Bottomfish Management Unit Species (BMUS) indicated below maximum sustainable yield. Decline in bottom fishing catch has occurred with decline in effort in American Samoa. Additionally, declines in adjusted price of fish suggest declining fish consumption. In 2011, this species accounted for 11% of all bottomfish landings (3987 lbs/35808 lbs). In 2012, Annual Catch Limits were implemented (WPRFMC 2012).

In Guam, Lethrinids are the largest component of the bottomfish fishery. Catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) has declined consistently from the early 1980s until 2008. From 2008 to 2010 CPUE (lbs/hr) values appear to be increasing, however CPUE in 2010 is half that of the mid-late 1980s and early 1990s. High early CPUE values may be attributed to relatively unfished bottom areas being more productive. In Guam, Lethrinids have became rare on shallow reefs due to heavy fishing and possibly reef degradation due to natural and human impacts (Green et al. 1997). Emperors are frequently incidental catch in the fishery for small carangids. Lethrinids in Guam have an Annual Catch limit of 38720 lbs. Coral reef fisheries around Guam have not been determined to be overfished however there are no existing stock assessments (WPRFMC 2012).

Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)
Lethrinids, which are caught using various methods, are the dominant catch in the CNMI, sometimes doubling or tripling the next most landed species. Lethrinus rubioperculatus is the most frequently harvested and easily identified species in the shallow-water bottomfish complex. The relative contribution of L. amboinensis to the catch is unknown. Fishing effort (number of boats and number of trips targeting bottomfish) has declined steadily from 2006 to 2011. Commercial landings of Lethrinids show large fluctuations from 1983 to 2011, and have particularly fluctuated over the last 8 years. Catch-per-unit-effort (lbs per hour) has fluctuated from 2000 to 2011, with a slight decreasing trend. Catch-per-unit effort has declined consistently in the snorkel spear fishery from a series high of 3.5lbs/hour in 2000 to a series low of less than 0.25 lbs/hour 2011. Bottomfish stocks are not experiencing overfishing although there are no species-specific stock assessments available (WPRFMC 2012).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Lethrinus amboinensis inhabits the deeper waters of coral reefs and adjacent sandy bottoms. It feeds primarily on fishes and crustaceans. There is very little known of the biology of this species because it is easily mistaken for L. microdon or L. olivaceus (Carpenter 2001). The maximum recorded length for this species is 70 cm (Carpenter and Allen 1989).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Lethrinus amboinensis is caught primarily with handlines and is typically marketed fresh (Carpenter 2001). This species is in the bottomfish management unit landed in the western Pacific island areas of Guam, American Samoa, and the commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Brodziak et al. 2012).

Lethrinids are dominant features of fish landings in many parts of the Pacific. In Oceania, lethrinids are components of reef and lagoon and deep-slope species stocks, and are sometimes taken with small pelagics. Lethrinids are the main targeted reef fish species in Fiji. Commercial hand-line fishing primarily targets lethrinids in Guam in waters less than 150 m. Lethrinids are landed using hand-lines, spears, surrounding nets, and drive-in nets, and occasionally using spears and beach seines (Dalzell et al. 1996).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is targeted by fisheries, but this does not appear to be a major threat to its global population.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is included in the Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish Fishery Management Plan in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and other uninhabited US Pacific Islands. Measures include the prohibition of some destructive fishing practices and allows for regulatory adjustments such as catch limits, size limits, area or seasonal closures, fishing effort limitations, fishing gear restrictions, access limitations, permit and/or catch reporting requirements. In 2006 an ecosystem-based management approach was adopted by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WPRFMC 2012)

Citation: Carpenter, K.E., Lawrence, A. & Myers, R. 2016. Lethrinus amboinensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T16719839A16722370. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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