Scorpaena porcus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Scorpaeniformes Scorpaenidae

Scientific Name: Scorpaena porcus Linnaeus, 1758
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Black Scorpionfish, Black Scorpion-fish, European Scorpionfish, Rascasse, Sea Pig, Sea Scorpion, Small-scaled Scorpionfish
French Bouillabaisse, Porc, Rascasse Brune, Scorpène
Spanish Cabracho, Escarapota, Rascacio
Scorpaena erythraea Cuvier, 1829

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-07-14
Assessor(s): de Sola, L., Herrera, J., Keskin, Ç., de Morais, L., Smith-Vaniz, W.F., Carpenter, K.E. & de Bruyne, G.
Reviewer(s): Pollard, D. & Soto, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Comeros-Raynal, M. & Stump, E.

Scorpaena porcus is widely distributed in the eastern Atlantic and is the most common scorpaenid in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. This species is found in a variety of habitats including seagrasses, sandy, muddy and rocky substrates. Scorpaena porcus is a commercially important species in some areas and is also susceptible to chronic coastal pollution in other parts of its range. Major threats are not significant to reach decline thresholds for a threatened category. It overlaps with marine reserves in parts of its range. It is listed as Least Concern. We recommend careful monitoring of this species. 

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Scorpaena porcus is widespread in the eastern Atlantic, from the British Isles to Morocco including the Mediterranean and Black seas. In European waters, this species also occurs off the Azores and the Canary islands. In the Mediterranean Sea, it occurs in suitable habitats throughout the basin. Specific records include the Balearic Sea (Herler et al. 1999, Moranta et al. 2006, Deudero et al. 2007), Iberian coast (Valle et al. 2003), Gulf of Lion (Letourneur et al. 2001, Claudet et al. 2006), Ligurian Sea (Molinari and Tunesi 2003, Tunesi and Molinari 2005, Tunesi et al. 2006), north Adriatic Sea (Lipej et al. 2003), south Adriatic Sea (Bussotti et al. 2002), Aegean Sea (Moutopoulos and Stergiou 2002, Karpouzi and Stergiou 2003, Karakulak et al. 2006, Ozaydin et al. 2007), south Tyrrhenian Sea (La Mesa and Vacchi 1999, Fernandez et al. 2005), Strait of Sicily (Gristina et al. 2006) and Lebanon coast (Harmelin-Vivien et al. 2005).

In the northwestern Mediterranean, this species has a depth range from 10 to 30 m, rarely occurring deeper than 80 or 90 m in the Mediterranean and 50 m in the Black Sea (Harmelin-Vivien et al. 1989, Koca 1997).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Egypt; France; Georgia; Gibraltar; Greece; Guernsey; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Jersey; Lebanon; Libya; Malta; Monaco; Montenegro; Morocco; Portugal (Azores, Madeira); Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia; Slovenia; Spain (Canary Is.); Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom; Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – eastern central; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):90
Upper depth limit (metres):10
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Scorpaena porcus is the most common scorpaenid in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (Kerskin et al. pers comm. 2013) but is uncommon in the Gulf of Cadiz (12 surveys) over half the 20-year survey series (ARSA; J. Gil pers. comm. 2013). Scorpaena porcus, along with two other scorpaenid species, made up 25% of the survey catch in terms of abundance and 20% in terms of biomass. In the Cap de Crues Marine Protected Area, a total of 630 (38%) individuals of this species were captured with a total weight of 99 kg (17%; Muñoz et al. 2013). This species is widespread and moderately common, it is very common in some parts of its range. Aggregated catch statistics for all scorpaenid species show a more or less stable catch of 1,500 to 3,000 mt per year since the 1960s (FAO Fishstat 2013).

The sex ratio of the S. porcus population in the Black Sea from Bilgin and Çelik (2009) was biased towards females. This bias has been previously mentioned in other studies as well (Bradai and Bouain 1988, Ünsal and Oral 1996, Silvestri et al. 2002). From 1995 to 2009, the occurrence frequency of S. porcus off Komiza, Croatia in the Adriatic Sea was 83.3% (Matic-Skokoet al. 2011). 

In one study, 72 specimens were collected in northwestern Turkey between July and August, which is when reproduction takes place. They were collected by a net between 20-30 metres (Çelik 2004).

According to Gristina et al. (2006), this species was sampled with a mean value of four specimens/km2, during one of two trawl surveys (Autumn 1997, Autumn 1998) carried out in the Strait of Sicily using an otter trawl with a 28 mm codend mesh opening.

Ozaydin et al. (2007) reported 86 specimens collected from Izmir Bay (central Aegean Sea) between February and December 2005 using bottom trawls (mesh size 24 mm at stretched cod-end), with TL ranging from 8.6 and 27.2 cm.

Karakulak et al. (2006) reported that 225 specimens (8.0 to 27.3 cm TL) were collected from a survey conducted for selectivity by gill and trammel nets in the coastal waters of Turkey from March 2004 to February 2005. Three hundred and twenty specimens (2.2 to 27.0 cm TL) were collected in November 1995 at six sites along the east coast of Spain (Tabarca, Santa Pola, Postiguet, San Juan, Campello and Villajoyosa). One hundred and eight fishing operations were taken up to a 20–22 m depth, with an approximated duration of 10 minutes by means of a beam trawl of 1.8 m width and 0.8 m height (Valle et al. 2003).

Moutopoulos and Stergiou (2002) reported that 195 specimens were collected seasonally during experimental fishing trials conducted with gill nets and long-lines during 1997–1998 in the Aegean Sea (Cyclades, coastal waters off Naxos Island, Greece).

Karpouzi and Stergiou (2003) reported that 127 specimens (11.0 to 30.2 cm TL) were collected seasonally, from October 1997 to September 2000, with a small fishing vessel, in the waters off Naxos Island (Cyclades, Aegean Sea, east Mediterranean Sea). They were using both gillnets of mesh-sizes 22, 24, 26 and 28 mm (bar length), longlines of hook sizes no. 11, 12, 13 and 15 (Mustad brand) and trammel nets of inner mesh-sizes 20, 24 and 28 mm (bar length). Fishing took place at depths ranging from four to 90 m.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Scorpaena porcus is a demersal, non-migratory, solitary and sedentary species. It is common among rocks and algae, but has a broad habitat tolerance, occurring on soft and hard substrata, in vegetation and in open areas. It feeds on small fishes (gobies, blennies), crustaceans and other invertebrates (Hureau and Litvinenko 1986). In the Mediterranean Sea, S. porcus was found associated with Posidonia oceanica beds (Macpherson et al. 2002, Fernandez et al. 2005, Moranta et al. 2006, Deudero et al. 2007) and inside marine caves (Herler et al. 1999).

Scorpaena porcus can live up to 12–18 years of age (Aksiray 1987). The oldest age estimates for this species varies between regions; in the Adriatic Sea S. porcus can live to 11 years, six years in the Mediterranean, and seven years in the Sea of Marmara (Bradai and Bouain 1988, Jardas and Pallaoro 1992, Ünsal and Oral 1996).

The spawning season of S. porcus in the Black Sea lasts from June to September (Bilgin and Çelik 2009). Other studies suggest the reproduction period is between June/July and August in the Black Sea (Koca 1997), in Dardanelles (Çelik and Bircan 2004), in the Gulf of Gabes (Bradai and Bouain 1991) and in the Sea of Marmara (Ünsal and Oral 1996). Sexual maturity is attained at the age of two in males and three in females with lengths at maturity at 17.5 cm and 16.7 cm respectively (Bilgin and Çelik 2009). In the Gulf of Gabes the length at maturity is 10.8 cm SL (Bradai and Bouain 1991) and 8.5 cm to 15.0 cm in the Sea of Marmara (Ünsal and Oral 1996). Scorpaena porcus exhibits sexual dimorphism and the growth rate of females is higher than that of males (Bilgin and Çelik 2009).

The presence of eggs of S. porcus in spring and summer was underlined by Satilmis et al. (2003) in the south Black Sea, while it was found among ichthyoplankton in the Marmara Sea by Yuksek et al. (2006). 


Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Scorpaena porcus is of commercial interest and is an important artisanal species in the Black Sea (Koca 1997). In 2002 in Turkey, the total catch of S. porcus was 240 tonnes (104 tonnes from Black Sea, 36 tonnes from the Sea of Marmara, 88 tonnes from Aegean Sea, and 12 tonnes from the Mediterranean Sea; Bilgin and Çelik 2009).

Scorpaena porcus is the second most frequently caught scorpaenid species in the marine protected area (MPA) of Cap de Creus in the northwestern Mediterranean. Between 2008 and 2010, in the Cap de Creus MPA, catch per unit effort (CPUE) peaked in the summer which is concurrent with the spawning of this species. Total scorpaenid landings are very low in the winter which is primarily due to the reduction of trammel net fishing effort (Muñoz et al. 2013).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Scorpaenoa porcus exhibits life history traits that make it vulnerable to exploitation including low mobility, long life span and slow growth (Harmelin 1987, Reñones et al. 2001). Longevity estimates of this species vary between regions which may be due to geological factors and fishing pressures (Bilgin and Çelik 2009). If current fishing pressures are not reduced on S. porcus and existing regulations not revised, the stock may be in danger (Bilgin and Çelik 2009).

In Sevastopol Bay, a highly polluted area of the Black Sea, the growth rate of S. porcus is lower and over half of the studied females had anomalies of oogenesis. An increase in the activity of superoxiddismutase (SOD) was also observed; SOD is a key enzyme of the antioxidant blood protection (Oven et al. 2000). Kuzminova et al. (2011) also revealed a low growth rate of S. porcus in the Sevastopol coastal zone. This study also determined that the decreased number of older adult individuals could not be attributed to overfishing in the area but is primarily due to chronic pollution.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. There are no length regulations for catching this species in Turkey; however, Bilgin and Çelik (2009) recommend a minimum fishing size of 18 cm TL and that fishing with trammel nets should be prohibited between June and September when this species spawns. 

The average size in both male and female S. porcus in the Cap de Creus marine protected area (MPA) was shown to always be greater than their size at sexual maturity while ~24% of individuals had a smaller size than their size at sexual maturity. Maximum obtained sizes were much larger inside the MPA than in the non-protected areas; however, the largest individuals with the highest reproductive potential are currently not very abundant inside the MPA as they are in non-protected areas (Muñoz et al. 2013). Muñoz et al. (2013) suggests the improvement of the monitoring and management of rockfish species.

Citation: de Sola, L., Herrera, J., Keskin, Ç., de Morais, L., Smith-Vaniz, W.F., Carpenter, K.E. & de Bruyne, G. 2015. Scorpaena porcus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T198747A60813489. . Downloaded on 19 March 2018.
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