Epinephelus albomarginatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Epinephelidae

Scientific Name: Epinephelus albomarginatus Boulenger, 1903
Common Name(s):
English White-edged Rockcod, Captain Fine
Epinephelus albomarginatus Boulenger, 1903
Taxonomic Source(s): Craig, M.T. and Hastings, P.A. 2007. A molecular phylogeny of the groupers of the subfamily Epinephelinae (Serranidae) with a revised classification of the Epinephelini. Ichthyological Research 54(1): 1-17.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2d ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Fennessy, S. (Grouper & Wrasse Specialist Group)
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Cornish, A. (Grouper & Wrasse Red List Authority)
In KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), the mean size of this fish declined from 588 mm TL to 557 mm TL from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, and fishing mortality has reduced spawning biomass per recruit to 23% of the unexploited level in KwaZulu-Natal (Fennessy 2000). No historical CPUE (catch per unit of effort) data or historical sex ratio data are available. Fishing effort in Mozambique is now substantially higher now than in the mid-1990s, although there are no CPUE data currently available.

Although there is no evidence for a decline in extent of occurrence, the species has a very restricted range. The reported range is from 24°50'S to 33°S (Heemstra and Randall 1993). The species mainly occurs in water depths from 30-80 m, and, based on calculated sea floor area to the 100 m isobath, the extent of occurrence of the species is therefore about 16,000 km². The area of occupancy is in reality much less than this, since the species is closely reef-associated, and assuming that 10% of the area of occurrence is reef, then effective habitat (reef) area is about 1,600 km².

This species is classified as Vulnerable as current data indicate a population reduction down to 23% of spawning biomass and hence > 30% population reduction is inferred due to fishing over a 10 year or three generation period where the time period includes both the past and the future, and fishing effort has increased. The species has a highly limited geographic range for a pelagic spawner but, although the EOO and AOO are small and would also qualify the species under B2b(v), there is no evidence of fluctuations or fragmentation.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Epinephelus albomarginatus occurs along the east coast of South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces to 33°S) and southern Mozambique (to 24°50'S). The species is relatively abundant only between 32°15'S and 24°50'S. The species has also been recorded from the southwest coast of India. See the assessment justification for details on extent of occurrence and area of occupancy.
Countries occurrence:
India; Mozambique; South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – western
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Not common in South African waters, probably more abundant in Mozambique. The South African population is assumed to be the same stock as in Mozambique.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Closely associated with reefs, mainly in water >30 m deep. There is very little evidence of spawning on exploited reefs in KwaZulu-Natal, possibly because of edge of range effects (Fennessy 2000), or unsuitable habitat. The species is a slow-growing, monandric protogynous hermaphrodite i.e., males are derived from functional females, and the sex ratio in KwaZulu-Natal is heavily female biased; it is not clear whether this is as a result of fishing pressure or because of edge of range effects on reproduction. In Mozambique, where fishing effort was light at time of sampling, the sex ratio was less biased (Fennessy 2000).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Over-fishing by small-scale commercial hook and line fishing in South Africa and Mozambique, and an industrial trap fishery in Mozambique poses a high threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Good protection in a 155 km long marine protected area (MPA) in South Africa. A minimum size limit of 400 mm TL applies, and a recreational bag limit of five fish per person per day (within that category of fish). Commercial fishing effort is restricted (number of permits is limited) and has recently been reduced. Fairly good compliance with regulations owing to an active conservation agency in KwaZulu-Natal. No bag or size limit restrictions in Mozambique.

Citation: Fennessy, S. (Grouper & Wrasse Specialist Group). 2004. Epinephelus albomarginatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T44677A10935440. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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