Epinephelus irroratus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Epinephelidae

Scientific Name: Epinephelus irroratus (Forster, 1801)
Common Name(s):
English Marquesan Grouper

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Cornish, A. & Situ Yingyi, A. (Grouper & Wrasse Specialist Group)
Reviewer(s): Kulbicki, M. & Sadovy, Y. (Grouper & Wrasse Red List Authority)
Fisheries data indicate Epinephelus irroratus to be quite abundant and not in decline. No decrease in either the catch per unit effort (CPUE) in number (between 10 to 30 fish per boat trip according to the duration of the trip), or the mean weight (1.8 kg, there is some uncertainty regarding this weight which was not possible to clarify) has been observed over several years (C. Ponsonnet pers. comm. 2003).

There are no limitations on fishing effort such as size limits, but the fishing activities in the Marquesan archipelago are not intensive. All production is sold locally with no export. As such, the exploitation level of E. irroratus is low and the species is not believed to be threatened (C. Ponsonnet pers. comm. 2003).

E. irroratus shows at least two characteristics that suggest it could be naturally susceptible to extinction and therefore updates on status are advised whenever possible. Firstly, it has a very limited distribution and secondly, it is a grouper and other species of grouper have consistently been shown to be vulnerable to exploitation (by being easily caught, being long-lived and slow to reach sexual maturation). However, the Marquesan Grouper is a relatively small species and thus is likely to reach sexual maturity faster than many of the larger species that are easily overfished. Although such basic biological data are not available, limited CPUE data, which is very useful in determining population declines, is available and suggests fishing pressure is low enough to not be reducing the population size at present. Finally, E. irroratus, occurs to depths considerably deeper that those that can be reached by free-diving or SCUBA which will provide some protection against spearfishers. As the population is being monitored, and as available data suggests population size is stable this species is categorized as Least Concern. If exports should begin for this species, this would merit a closer look at its status as the limited distribution is the major point of concern for this species.

Cedric Ponsonnet (Service de la Peche, Papeete, Tahiti) supplied all the recent information on which this assessment is based.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Epinephelus irroratus is found only in the Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia) in the South Pacific. A single record from Minami Tori Shima Island off Japan appears to be an error (Heemstra and Randall 1993).
Countries occurrence:
French Polynesia (Marquesas)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – eastern central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):50
Upper depth limit (metres):20
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:From fisheries data, and discussions with local fishermen the Marquesan Grouper appears to be reasonably abundant between 20 and 50 m in all islands of the archipelago (C. Ponsonnet pers. comm. 2003).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This fish is mainly caught between 20–50 m, but may go deeper to 100 m (C. Ponsonnet pers. comm. 2003). It reaches a size of 34 cm total length.

No data appears to have been published on the biology of this species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat is from overfishing but at this time the fishing pressure appears to be low enough to be sustainable, at least in the short-term, see justification above, and as long as exports do not begin. The species is unlikely to be threatened despite limited distribution because there is little pressure and it is generally beyond the reach of most current fishing activity.

Citation: Cornish, A. & Situ Yingyi, A. (Grouper & Wrasse Specialist Group). 2004. Epinephelus irroratus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T44676A10935333. . Downloaded on 21 August 2018.
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