Panulirus marginatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Malacostraca Decapoda Palinuridae

Scientific Name: Panulirus marginatus (Quoy & Gaimard, 1825)
Common Name(s):
English Banded Spiny Lobster
Palinurus marginatus Quoy & Gaimard, 1825

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2009-12-03
Assessor(s): Butler, M., Cockcroft, A. & MacDiarmid, A.
Reviewer(s): Collen, B., Livingstone, S. & Richman, N.
Contributor(s): Batchelor, A., De Silva, R., Dyer, E., Kasthala, G., Lutz, M.L., McGuinness, S., Milligan, H.T., Soulsby, A.-M. & Whitton, F.

Panulirus marginatus has been assessed as Data Deficient.  This species has, in the past, experienced threat from over-harvesting throughout its range, where declines of over 80% in catch per unit effort data have been recorded (mid 1970s to 1999) from the NWHI fishery.  This would have made the species eligible for Endangered classification (A1abd).  However, since 2000 harvesting of this species has ceased as the fishery was closed and a marine protected area designated, with ongoing management and monitoring by the National Marine Fisheries Service, Honolulu Laboratory. Currently there are no accurate abundance data for this species and therefore the population trend since 2000 is unknown.  Once this data is available a more accurate assessment of this species can be carried out, which may result in a Least Concern classification.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is only known from Hawaii, including the Northwest Hawaiian Islands (Holthuis 1991).
Countries occurrence:
United States (Hawaiian Is.)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – eastern central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):143
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In the past there were striking contrasts in abundance between different Hawaiian islands; e.g., Maro Reef adjusted landings were more than 300 times those from Lisianski Island, despite both being of similar size and depth and only 330 km apart (Parrish and Polovina 1994). This suggests a highly heterogeneous population structure for this species, determined partly by habitat topography. Generally catches were lowest on banks with summits deeper than 30 m (Parrish and Polovina 1994).

In Hawaii, there has been a commercial lobster fishery in operation in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) since the mid-to late 1970s - with a one year closure in 1993 - primarily targeting this species and the Blunt Slipper Lobster (Scyllarides squammosus) (Pooley and Kawamoto 1998).  Catches showed large year-to-year fluctuations, but despite this, it is Hawaii's most valuable demersal fishery (Parrish and Polovina 1994). Two banks: Necker Island and Maro Reef, were the focus of especially high fishing effort after 1980, with subsequent declines in catch per unit effort (CPUE: 37 and 68 % respectively of 1977 and 1987 levels). There was also a significant shift towards decreasing carapace length in the same period (Polovina 1989).

Fivefold declines in CPUE were observed at Necker Bank through the late 1980s and 1990s, both for commercial catch-per-trap haul and in research landings of all size groups (including juveniles) (DeMartini et al. 2003). This occurred simultaneously with increasing size-specific fecundity, a compensatory response consistent with decreases in median body size at sexual maturity (DeMartini et al. 2003). The result of this was that egg production was dominated by smaller females, partly due to the poor representation of large females in the population (DeMartini et al. 2003).

As landings of all species were showing declines, in 2000 the NWHI fishery was closed as a precautionary measure due to increasing uncertainty of the population models used to assess stock status. Later on that year the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve was established which may prohibit commercial lobster fishing in the NWHI indefinitely (DiNardo and Moffitt 2007). For catch data from the NWHI fishery whilst it was in operation see DiNardo and Moffitt (2007).

CPUE data for this species from 1983 (mature lobster landings/trap hauls; data from DiNardo and Marshall 2001):
1983 - 2.47; 1984 - 1.83; 1985 - 0.96; 1986 - 0.65; 1987 - 0.49; 1988 - 1.06; 1989 - 0.88; 1990 - 0.50; 1991 - 0.44; 1992 - 0.36; 1993 - closed; 1994 - 0.51; 1995 - 0.55 (experimental fishery); 1996 - 1.07; 1997 - 0.79; 1998 - 0.40; 1999 - 0.31; 2000 - fishery closed.

This suggests an approximately 87 % decline in CPUE between 1983 and 1999 across the NWHI fishery. Surveys at Necker Island showed a drop in CPUE of 80 % between 1988 and 1999, with that of 2-year old lobsters declining by 85 % over the same period, suggesting recruitment to the fishery is also suffering. Data from other Hawaiian islands (e.g., Laysan Island) also show steep CPUE declines (DiNardo and Marshall 2001).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:"Shallow water" under rocks and crevices on rocky bottoms, according to Holthuis (1991), although it has been recorded as deep as 143 m. This species is nocturnal. Although longevity and age at maturity are not known for this species, inference from similar species (e.g., the Caribbean Spiny Lobster Panulirus argus) suggests a longevity of up to 20 years and sexual maturity at around four years.

Changes in recruitment levels for this species are related to Pacific sea levels four years earlier (Polovina and Mitchum 1992).
Generation Length (years):8

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is no longer commercially harvested across its range by a fishery in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, due to the creation of a protected area, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, in 2000, which prohibits fishing (DiNardo and Moffitt 2007).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The NWHI fishery has been closed since 2000 and a protected area now covers this species' distribution, therefore there are no current threats impacting this species.  Previous declines in catch per unit effort (CPUE) of over 80 % have been recorded for this species between 1983 and 1999 (DiNardo and Marshall 2001), which had knock-on effects in relation to fecundity (DeMartini et al. 2003), but there is no information to indicate this has had a long-term impact on the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The fishery for this species was closed in 2000, upon the creation of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. Were it to re-open in the future - which is conditional on the recovery of lobster populations - several management practices should be put in place. The first of these is a minimum size limit, as past "retain all" policies, introduced in 1996 to reduce discard, were detrimental to populations of this species. DeMartini et al. (2003) recommend a larger limit than the previous 50 mm used until 1996, in order to protect smaller females which are now the primary egg-producers. This may help to counter recruitment overfishing (DeMartini et al. 2003).

Necker Island is an important focus for stock recovery efforts, as it is thought to be an important source of larvae for the rest of the fishery. This tallies with a novel metapopulation-based approach to the fishery (DiNardo and Marshall 2001), based on the premise that "overfishing or depletion of local populations could
result in catastrophic impacts to the population as a whole (e.g. a reduction in average recruitment or recruitment failure), particularly when a large number of local populations or the most productive populations are overfished". This calls for the collection of higher-quality population data, which is being addressed by the National Marine Fisheries Service, Honolulu Laboratory (NMFS-HL) in the form of a research and monitoring plan.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.2. Species recovery

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:Yes
  Systematic monitoring scheme:Unknown
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Percentage of population protected by PAs (0-100):100
  Area based regional management plan:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Unknown
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Unknown
  Included in international legislation:Unknown
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Unknown
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.2. Intentional use: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Past Impact 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.8. Other

2. Conservation Planning -> 2.3. Harvest & Trade Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends

Bibliography [top]

DeMartini, E.E., DiNardo, G.T. and Williams, H.A. 2003. Temporal changes in population density, fecundity, and egg size of the Hawaiian spiny lobster (Panulirus marginatus) at Necker Bank, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Fishery Bulletin 101: 22-31.

DiNardo, G.T. and Marshall, R. 2001. Status of lobster stocks in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, 1998 - 2000. Southwest Fisheries Science Center Administrative Report H-01-04, Honolulu, Hawaii.

DiNardo, G.T. and Moffitt, R.B. 2007. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Lobster Fishery: A Targeted Slipper Lobster Fishery. In: Lavalli, K.L. and Spanier, E (eds), The Biology and Fisheries of the Slipper Lobster, pp. 243-262. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Florida.

Holthuis, L.B. 1991. Marine lobsters of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of species of interest to fisheries known to date. FAO species catalogue 13(125). FAO, Rome.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2017).

Parrish, F.A. and Polovina, J.J. 1994. Habitat Thresholds and Bottlenecks in Production of the Spiny Lobster (Panulirus Marginatus) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Bulletin of Marine Science 54(1): 151-163.

Polovina, J.J. 1989. Density dependence in spiny lobster, Panulirus marginatus, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 46: 660-665.

Polovina, J.J. and Mitchum, G.T. 1992. Variability in spiny lobster Panulirus marginatus recruitment and sea level in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Fishery Bulletin 90(3): 483-493.

Citation: Butler, M., Cockcroft, A. & MacDiarmid, A. 2011. Panulirus marginatus. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T170067A6724412. . Downloaded on 24 June 2018.
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