Chimaera lignaria 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Chimaeriformes Chimaeridae

Scientific Name: Chimaera lignaria
Species Authority: Didier, 2002
Common Name(s):
English Giant Chimaera, Carpenter’s Chimaera, Giant Purple Chimaera
Taxonomic Notes: Although only recently described (in 2002) this species has long been known to occur on deep-water slopes and fishing grounds around New Zealand and Tasmania (Paulin et al. 1989, Hardy 1990, Last and Stevens 1994).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-02-18
Assessor(s): Dagit, D.D.
Reviewer(s): Kyne, P.M. & Walls, R.H.L.
Contributor(s): Kyne, P.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M. & Walls, R.H.L.
The Giant Chimaera (Chimaera lignaria) appears to be moderately abundant within its range, but this large species (up to 142 cm total length) may be slow-growing with low fecundity. The known range is restricted to New Zealand and Tasmania, Australia at depths of 400-1,800 m (mostly deeper than 800 m). Although it is not commercially fished, this species is a bycatch of Australian and New Zealand deepwater trawl and longline fisheries. There has been an increasing trend in bycatch levels in New Zealand fisheries from 1990-91 to 2010-11. The Australian South Tasman Rise Fishery has been closed since 2007 due to Orange Roughy stock depletion, and so parts of the species' Australian range are closed to fishing. The deep occurrence of the species also provides it with refuge from fisheries in some areas. It is therefore assessed as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2006 Data Deficient (DD)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Giant Chimaera is currently known from only around New Zealand and Tasmania, Australia (Last and Stevens 2009). It is unknown if this species is restricted to specific deepwater slopes or if it is possibly more widespread in deep water in the Southern Ocean.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Tasmania); New Zealand
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest
Lower depth limit (metres): 1800
Upper depth limit (metres): 400
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A significant number of adults and some juveniles have been collected from deepwater research and commercial trawls indicating a diverse population in the areas where these fish are known to occur, but otherwise nothing is known of population size or structure.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The Giant Chimaera is a benthic species found on deepwater slopes and plateaus at depths of 400 to 1,800 m, but most commonly found at depths greater than 800 m (Didier 2002). Maximum recorded size is 142 cm total length (TL), possibly around 150 cm TL. Males and females appear to reach sexual maturity at about 60 and 70 cm body length, respectively. Nothing else is known of the biology of this species, but given its large size it may be slow-growing with low fecundity.
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Not known to be utilized; 100% discarded in the Australian Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (Walker and Gason 2007).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Giant Chimaera is not currently commercially fished; the major threat is incidental catch in benthic deepwater trawls targeting teleost species on the fishing grounds around New Zealand and Tasmania where this species is most commonly found. Small amounts are caught in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) off southern Australia and these are 100% discarded (Walker and Gason 2007). The Australian South Tasman Rise Trawl Fishery (STRF) closed in 2007 due to stock depletion (Patterson and Mazur 2014), and there are areas closed to fishing within the Australian part of its range, so it can be assumed that fishing pressure within Australian waters is very low overall.

Bycatch trends from three New Zealand deepwater trawl and one longline fishery from 1990-91 to 2010-11 show increasing catch trends (MPI 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are currently no conservation measures in place for this species. More information from commercial fisheries with regard to bycatch is needed. Monitoring is recommended if the South Tasman Rise Fishery was reopened or with the emergence of deepwater fisheries in the future that could potentially target this large species for human consumption. The distribution of the species overlaps with some marine protected areas within Australia's Commonwealth Marine Reserve network.

Citation: Dagit, D.D. 2015. Chimaera lignaria. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T60185A68617238. . Downloaded on 27 November 2015.
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