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Mycteroperca venenosa

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES EPINEPHELIDAE

Scientific Name: Mycteroperca venenosa
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Yellowfin Grouper
Spanish Cuna De Piedra, Guajil, Mero Pinto
French Badèche De Roche
Synonym(s):
Mycteroperca venenosa (Linnaeus, 1758)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor(s): Brule, T. & Garcia-Moliner, G. (Grouper & Wrasse Specialist Group)
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Eklund, A.-M. (Grouper & Wrasse Red List Authority)
Justification:
Though recent landings of Mycteroperca venenosa from Brazil and Bermuda are lacking and no inference can be drawn about the status of Yellowfin Grouper around these regions, M. venenosa occurring around the Caribbean areas is clearly facing heavy fishing pressure. The large level of decline in landings in regions around the U.S. and the poor status of some of its spawning aggregations are all likely evidence to of heavy fishing pressure. Considering this situation and the importance of this grouper to Bermuda’s commercial fishery industry (Heemstra and Randall 1993), it is very likely that future Yellowfin Grouper populations in some areas will be deeply affected by its current situation unless conservation actions are made promptly.

Recent data on landings of M. venenosa are only available from the U.S., mainly U.S. Caribbean. The percentage of the U.S. landings showed a 94% decline in 11 years (1990–2001).

In Bermuda, landings of M. venenosa showed a decrease of about 80% from 1975 to 1981 (4.5 mt to 0.9 mt) followed by an increase in 1987 (2.5 mt). Recent data from Bermuda or Brazil are lacking but management has been in place in Bermuda with some improvement noted.

In Cuba, Mexico and Belize, spawning sites showed declines and some of them are commercially exploited. Exact data on exploitation of spawning aggregations are lacking.

See the link below for a summary of the regional catch data.

Recent data on abundance and population status (except for the U.S. mainly Caribbean stock) and appropriate data on exploitation on spawning aggregations are lacking. However, U.S. and probably Bermuda stocks are facing heavy fishing pressure. As others groupers which gather to spawn, M. venenosa is particularly particularly vulnerable to overexploitation, especially when fishing pressure is most intense during spawning aggregation formation. However, in some areas this species is ciguatoxic and not heavily taken for food. This species should be considered Near Threatened with additional data sought and more effective management is probably needed. It is close to a Vulnerable listing under criteria A2d.
For further information about this species, see 44683_Mycteroperca_venenosa.pdf.
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Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Mycteroperca venenosa has a rather continuous distribution along the east coast of Central America within the Caribbean and along the east coast of South America, south to Sao Paulo (Brazil), with only an interruption near the exit of the Amazon River. Extent of occurrence and area of occupancy are unknown.
Countries:
Native:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bermuda; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; French Guiana; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Mexico; Montserrat; Nicaragua; Panama; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Populations in the Caribbean area are suggested to be large historically (Heemstra and Randall 1993), although current population size may be considerably reduced as inferred from the landings of it in the U.S. and territories and the status of its spawning aggregations. Population doubling time: 4.5–14 years (FishBase 2003).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Juveniles occur in shallow turtle grass beds; adults are usually found on rocky and coral reefs in depths of 2 to 137 m (FishBase 2003).

Spawning takes place at Bermuda in July, in the Florida Keys during March (at least formerly but not confirmed recently), and on the Florida Middle Ground in the eastern Gulf of Mexico from March to August (Bullock and Smith 1991, Heemstra and Randall 1993). In Cuba, Yellowfin Grouper spawns during winter and spring with peaks spawning in January and during April-May (García-Cagide and García 1996). Spawning takes place south of St. Thomas (Grammanic Bank) February through April with peaks during the full month in March.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Most likely threats are overfishing and habitat destruction. Extremely vulnerable during spawning aggregations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Caribbean region
A series of conservation strategies is proposed to protect the spawning aggregations in the Caribbean region, this includes incorporating known spawning aggregation sites into planning programmes, developing and implementing monitoring programmes, imposing gear restrictions (Luckhurst 2003). The Gramanic Bank area south of St. Thomas has been proposed as a seasonal area closure to protect Yellowfin Grouper.

No known restrictions on trade in this species are imposed in any Caribbean countries.

Mexico
Regulations for all groupers caught on the Campeche Bank (including M. venenosa) include license and a minimum legal total length of 30 cm, a closed season from January 15 to February 15 and an annual catch quota of 1,200 mt for the Cuban fleet. (SEMARNAP 2000).

Citation: Brule, T. & Garcia-Moliner, G. (Grouper & Wrasse Specialist Group) 2004. Mycteroperca venenosa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 18 December 2014.
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