Oblada melanura 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Sparidae

Scientific Name: Oblada melanura (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Saddled Seabream
French Oblade
Spanish Doblada, Oblada
Oblata melanura (Linnaeus, 1758)
Sparus melanurus Linnaeus, 1758

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2009-08-16
Assessor(s): Russell, B., Carpenter, K.E. & Pollard, D.
Reviewer(s): de Morais, L.
Contributor(s): Gorman, C. & Comeros-Raynal, M.

Oblada melanura is widespread in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic from Gulf of Biscay to Angola including the Canary Islands and Cape Verde Islands and Sao Tome. In the Mediterranean it is commercially fished, with declines approaching 50% in the eastern part but this could be partly due to competition with the Lessepsian migrant Pempheris vanicolensis. In other parts of its range, there is no evidence of declines due to fishing. Its distribution overlaps with marine reserves in parts of its range. It is therefore listed as Least Concern. However, because of evidence of localized overfishing and indications of partial displacement because of competition with Lessepsian migrants in the eastern Mediterranean, this species warrants further monitoring and re-assessment in the medium term. 


In Europe, this species is widespread and overlaps with marine protected areas. Local declines have been observed in the Mediterranean and may be due to competition with the Lessepsian migrant Pempheris vanicolensis. There is no evidence of declines due to fishing. It is therefore listed at Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Oblada melanura is widely distributed in eastern Africa and is known from the Straits of Gibraltar to Angola, including Madeira and the Canary and Cape Verde Islands. This species extends northwards into the Mediterranean and to the Bay of Biscay (Carpenter in prep.). This species occurs to 30 m depth (Bauchot and Hureau 1986).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Angola; Benin; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; France; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Israel; Italy; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Malta; Mauritania; Monaco; Montenegro; Morocco; Nigeria; Portugal; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Syrian Arab Republic; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – eastern central; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):30
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is overfished in the eastern Adriatic Sea, with an exploitation rate of E=0.56 (Pallaoro et al. 1998). In Turkey, landings ranged from around 100 to 300 tonnes from 1995 to 2006, with the peak occurring in 2006 (Turkish State Statistical Organization Annual Reports). It is common to very common and abundant in appropriate habitats around the Mediterranean Sea. The FAO landings data from 10 countries showed a steady increase in landings (presumably from increased fishing effort) and then a peak of around 2,000 tonnes between 1985–1994; thereafter up to 2005 it has been stable at around 1,000 tonnes. Most of this overall decline is due to decreasing landings in Greece.

There is some anecdotal evidence of competition with the Lessepsian migrant Pempheris vanicolensis, potentially displacing Oblada melanura in the eastern Mediterranean (M. Goren pers. comm.).

FAO capture production figures in 2012 were: Algeria 21 mt; Croatia 49 mt; Cyprus two mt; Egypt 46 mt; Libya 310 mt; Tunisia 35 mt; Portugal zero mt; France 15 mt; Spain 440 mt; Greece 240 mt; Italy 132 mt; Malta five mt; Montenegro zero mt; Tunisia 35 mt; Turkey 139 mt; and Yugoslavia SFR zero mt.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:A coastal species forming aggregations over rocky bottoms or seagrass beds (zosteras and seaweeds) to depths of about 30 m. It is omnivorous, feeding especially on small invertebrates (Carpenter in press). It is often abundant in light-penetrating caves (K. Bizsel pers. comm.), and is found close to the bottom during its mating season (B. Yokes pers. comm.). Juvenile settlement occurs in the Mediterranean from July to September in depths of less than two metres on rocky areas with various slopes, and is favoured by the presence of overhangs (Harmelin-Vivien et al. 1995). The transition from the pelagic to the benthic life occurs at a length of about eight to nine mm TL (Harmelin-Vivien et al. 1995). This species has a longevity of 11 years and a maximum total length of 30 cm. The coefficients of mortality are Z=1.08, M=0.47 (Pallaoro et al. 1998). 

The coefficient of allometry of the total length-weight relationship differs significantly between sexes, which indicates positive allometric growth for females (3.123) and isometric growth for males (3.017). The parameters of the growth model of Von Bertalanffy are: L.inf. =34.13 cm, t0=-0.75, K=0.20 (females), and K=0.23 (males). The reproductive season is between April and June. This species is gonochoristic, but some individuals are protogynous hermaphrodites. All individuals larger than 29.3 cm are female (Pallaoro et al. 1998). In the east central Adriatic Sea, the main food for specimens of the one year age group are copepods, while cladocerans are the second most important prey (Pallaoro et al. 2004).
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This is an important food fish in the Mediterranean Sea, with total landings of 862 tonnes in 2005. It is fished commercially and is also sometimes caught as a sport fish. It is fished throughout its range, but there is no special fishery. The fishing gears used are beach seines, trawl and deep nets, and hand lines. It is regularly present in the markets of Spain, Sicily, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus and in countries of the Adriatic Sea, but is only occasionally found in north African markets and in Israel. It is rare in France, and generally discarded as low value fish in Portugal (Gonçalves et al. 2008). This species is marketed fresh or frozen (flesh not highly appreciated); also used for fishmeal and oil (Carpenter in press).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Localized population declines from fishing may pose a threat to this species. Natural predation may also be a factor controlling populations in the East Adriatic Sea (Pallaoro et al. 1998) where high fishing pressure is also present. Shellfish harvesting of mussels through reduction of macroalgae habitats has also been shown to affect local populations (Guidetti et al. 2004)

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in some marine protected areas (World Database of Protected Areas, accessed 11 March 2014). No specific conservation measures are in place for this species. More genetic information would be useful for the management of this species.

Citation: Russell, B., Carpenter, K.E. & Pollard, D. 2014. Oblada melanura. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T170197A1291218. . Downloaded on 23 March 2018.
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