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Lutjanus analis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Lutjanidae

Scientific Name: Lutjanus analis
Species Authority: (Cuvier, 1828)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Mutton Snapper

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-10-10
Assessor(s): Lindeman, K., Anderson, W., Carpenter, K.E., Claro, R., Cowan, J., Padovani-Ferreira, B., Rocha, L.A., Sedberry, G. & Zapp-Sluis, M.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A.
Contributor(s): Steell, M. & Tishler, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Elfes, C., Linardich, C. & Polidoro, B.
This species is widely distributed and fished throughout its range. It can form spawning aggregations making it very vulnerable and juveniles are harvested in some many regions amplifying the impacts of overfishing. In the US South Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, the most recent assessments indicate there are declines of over 60% in commercial landings, however, recent assessments conclude the stock is not currently overfished and that overfishing is not occurring. Other countries show moderate to high declines in catch landings. In Cuba, total catch decreased by 40% since the 1980s over three generation lengths (24 to 66 years, based on estimates from eight to 22 years based on differing entry parameters). Spawning aggregation sizes have declined in Cuba and few major sites are in marine protected areas. It is heavily exploited in many areas and considered overfished in regions of Brazil and Colombia. Regional reductions in landings are wide and substantial yet extended landings databases are not widely available. It is consistent with the information that is available to estimate that the species has undergone at least 20% declines in biomass over 30 to 60 years and it is listed as Near Threatened. Based on past reductions and ongoing fishing levels, further declines could be expected; this could make this species Vulnerable in the future. It is recommended that precautionary management measures be taken including appropriate fisheries data collection to better understand the population structures and the targeted protection of regionally important spawning aggregations.
Previously published Red List assessments:
  • 1996 – Vulnerable (VU)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This western Atlantic species is distributed from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina south along the U.S. coast, Bermuda, the Bahamas, in the Gulf of Mexico from the Florida Keys north to Tampa, off the Mississippi Delta region, and from Texas (Corpus Christi) south along Mexico to Cuba, throughout the Caribbean Sea, and along South America to Santa Catarina, Brazil (Cervigón 1993, B. Anderson pers. comm. 2011). Its depth range is one to 95 m (Thompson and Munro 1974, Allen 1985).
Countries occurrence:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; 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 Barthélemy; 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:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – northwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):95
Upper depth limit (metres):1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species is prized in warmer Florida state waters and recreational fishing accounted for more fishing mortality in Florida than commercial or headboat fisheries (O’Hop et al. 2015). Commercial landings in the US South Atlantic range from a minimum of 7.6 mt in 2007 to a peak of 131.4 mt in 1973, and reflect a 76% decline over a three generation length estimate of 24 years, from 68.7 mt in 1990 to 16.3 mt in 2013 (NMFS 2015a). For the southeast coast of Florida, coincident with a 50% decline in effort, combined landings of 11 reef fish species from the headboat fishery in southeast Florida declined by 85% between 1990-2006 (Ault and Franklin 2011). While landings of L. analis declined by 92%, from about 25 mt in 1990 to 2 mt in 2006, it is unclear if the decline in landings is due solely to the decline in effort (Ault and Franklin 2011). Biomass declined to a low in 1994 and then increased to 9570 mt in 2006 (Table 5, Figure 3, SEDAR 2008). Estimated recreational landings from the Atlantic coast of the US peaked in 2008 at 772,798 individuals with 2014 landings at 280,281 individuals (NMFS 2015b). In 2013, the SEDAR Update Assessment of L. analis in both the US South Atlantic and GOM concluded that maximum fishing mortality threshold was 0.18 per year (defined as fishing mortality rate associated with a spawning potential ratio of 30%) and using prior SAFMC and GMFMC protocols, Mutton Snapper was not considered overfished or to be undergoing overfishing (O’Hop et al. 2015). Older assessments from the 1990s indicated that the spawning stock ratio was above the criterion for overfishing established by the SAFMC (Huntsman et al. 1992, 54% in Ault et al. 1998). For US federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, commercial landings of L. analis increased steadily from 1950 through the mid-1980s, to a peak of 164.5 mt in 1987, with a decline to 66.3 mt in 2013 (NMFS 2015a), representing a decline of 60% over 27 years. Estimated recreational landings from the GOM peaked in 1984 with 319,964 individuals, in 2014 256,391 individuals were reported (NMFS 2015b).This species is caught as bycatch in commercial fisheries that target L. campechanus (Red Snapper) in the Mexican waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It is sold in the domestic markets of mainly Mexico City and Guadalajara (SAGARPA 2012). Juveniles are extensively caught in the shrimp fishery, but no official statistics are available at this time. Landings of mixed snapper species in Mexico have fluctuated but appear relatively stable from 1970s to 1996, with little data after these years (INP 2000).

Lutjanus analis is historically one of the most targeted species by commercial and recreational fisheries off Cuba. Catch was relatively stable until the early 1990s when a major decline began due to reduced commercial effort, intense subsistence fishing, and historical overexploitation of spawning aggregations (Claro et al. 2009). Total landings decreased from 1,326 mt in 1987 to 645 mt in 2010, a 51% decline over 24 years. Traditionally, about 50% of the landings were from Archipelago Sabana-Camaguey, north-central Cuba. Ranging from small to major declines, evidence suggests that spawning aggregations have decreased in size (Claro et al. 2009). Landings in northeastern Cuba were relatively stable from 1970s to 1995, but by 2010 catches declined over 50% from more than 400 mt to 145 mt, with stable or increasing effort. Recreational and subsistence fishing also increased during this period. The Puerto Rican and the US Virgin Islands population managed by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council considers Mutton Snapper current stock exploitation status as not undergoing overfishing, and stock biomass status was not overfished. The majority of landings are from the trap and/or pots, and hook and line fishery. Through the 23 year time series from 1983 to 2005, commercial catches declined 50% (SEDAR 2007, Table 2). Removals from hook and line gear accounted for some 46% of the removals across all years, while pots or traps accounted for about 28.5% (SEDAR 2007). In Colombia, this species can be second only to L. synagris in importance to the lutjanid fishery (Acero and Garzon 1985). The species is fished with many gears in Venezuela (Cervigon 2003).

In east Brazil, a stock assessment conducted by Klippel et al. (2005) estimated that the stock was moderately overexploited. For the northeastern coast, the stock is considered to be overexploited at 20% above the recommended level (Fredou et al. 2009). In northeast Brazil, L. analis is one of the most common snappers, both in abundance and catch, and has been deemed as being overexploited with low resiliency (Begossi et al. 2012). This species was considered exploited by artisanal hand-line fleets in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil (Gomes de Mattos and Maynou 2009). In the Abrolhos Reef system, the species was reported but ranked below <0.1 in percentage of total biomass (Francini-Filho 2008). In Rio de Janeiro, L. analis are harvested as juveniles, detrimental to stock structure for slow-growing species (Begossi et al. 2012).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs over reef, seagrass and rubble bottoms. It occurs in continental shelf areas as well as in clear waters around islands (Cervigón et al. 1992). Early life stages can be found among a variety of structural habitat types including settlement stages in seagrasses. Large adults are usually found among rocks and coral while juveniles occur over sandy, vegetated (usually Thalassia) habitats (Starck 1971, Cervigón 1993). This species can form small diurnal aggregations that disband during the night (Allen 1985). The juvenile usage of several backreef habitats in comparison to congeners is reviewed in Nagelkerken (2009). 

Lutjanus analis is a carnivorous trophic generalist and uses a great variety of prey. Juvenile stages feed on mainly crustaceans, whereas those 6 cm or larger consume post-larval and juvenile fish (Sierra and Popova 1997). Adults feed during the day as well as at night. The main prey are bony fishes, crustaceans, molluscs and echinoderms (Allen 1985). Mutton Snappers aggregated at the La Parguera, Puerto Rico, shelf edge during night time the week following the full moon of April and May of 2003 at an average depth of 20-40 m over rocky coralline bottoms and sandy bottoms with abundant gorgonians (Esteves 2005).

Individuals have been observed in spawning condition in the US Caribbean from February through July (Erdman 1976), and have been reported in spawning condition by anglers from April through September in east central Florida (Tishler Meadows 2012). Spawning aggregations are documented from Belize (Heyman and Kjerve 2008) with a sharp reduction in landings and fishing effort in the late 1980s (Grandados-Dieseldorff et al. 2013). In Cuba, spawning aggregations occur on several shelf regions between May and August in depths of 20-40 m (Claro and Lindeman 2003). A well-known spawning aggregation site at Riley’s Hump has received management attention (see Conservation section). Multiple potential aggregation sites have been identified in Bahia, Brazil (França and Olavo 2015).

Acoustic tracking of one individual of L. analis near no-take marine reserves in the Dry Tortugas, Florida, estimated a home range of about 7.5 km2 (Farmer and Ault 2011). While this suggests that subpopulations separated by 100 km or less may be able to respond independently to disturbances, there may be limited exchange between the subpopulation in the Gulf of Mexico and the wider Caribbean Sea. Ocean circulation modelling suggest a low probability of snapper larval connectivity between western Caribbean (particularly from the south coast of Cuba) to US waters (Paris et al. 2005).

Size at 50% maturity was estimated at 33 cm FL and 41 cm FL for males and females, respectively, off Puerto Rico (Figuerola and Torres Ruiz 2001) and at 50 cm FL in Cuba (Claro 1981). For the US Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Mutton Snapper stock assessment (O’Hop et al. 2015), the following life history values were used: longevity - 40 years; age at 50% maturity - 3.7 years. Additionally, in the US Gulf of Mexico, longevity was observed at 14.5 years, with age at sexual maturity 3.1 years (SERO 2010). For the US Caribbean stock of Mutton Snapper, age of sexual maturity was estimated at three years (SEDAR 2007). Using these different estimates, generation length for this species was estimated to be eight to 22 years. Maximum size is approximately 94 cm and is common to 50 cm (Ault et al. 1998, Anderson 2002).
Generation Length (years):8-22

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This is an important commercial, recreational and artisanal species. Often marketed as Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus), the Mutton Snapper is a high-priced species and whole fish sell for 6-8 US$ per pound in St. Croix and Puerto Rico, and Mutton Snapper fillets may sell for as much as US $12 per pound in Miami seafood markets (SEDAR 2007). In Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil, Cunha et al. (2012) found Mutton Snapper to be the tenth most abundant reef fish taxon to be exported on fishery markets. Cheek and throat tissue from larger Mutton Snapper can be considered gourmet items.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This valuable species is caught with hook and line, seines, gill nets, bottom longlines, traps and spears by divers (Allen 1985). Spawning aggregations are targeted by fishers throughout its range. This species is prized by recreational anglers along Florida's east coast where the majority of landings occur from Cape Canaveral, Florida, through the Florida Keys. The species is popular with spearfishermen in many areas. This species is also subject of a commercial fishery mainly harvested with hook-and-line or spearfishing gear (Burton 2002). Mutton Snapper form spawning aggregations with a high degree of site fidelity (Domeier and Colin 1997) and as such are vulnerable to capture and overexploitation. Juveniles of this species are taken by shrimp trawl bycatch and the shallow vegetation used for settlement and juvenile grow-out can be impacted by coastal construction activities.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species was ranked as Vulnerable in a 1996 IUCN Red List (Huntsman 1996). Additional information has become available since and the IUCN criteria for Red List rankings have evolved with a greater emphasis on data that can specifically demonstrate population or biomass declines over three generation lengths.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council established that both commercial and recreational fisheries for Mutton Snapper require a limited access permit, a 16" TL size limit, and a restriction of 10 fish per person per day or per trip (whichever is more restrictive) during the months of May and June. In addition, some gear restrictions apply and there are annual catch limits on both sectors. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf FMC) also establishes regulations for the recreational Mutton Snapper fishery of 16" TL size limit; fishing is permitted year-round, but a maximum of 10 fish are permitted per person per day within the snapper aggregate. In 1992, the Gulf of Mexico Management Council imposed a two month spawning season closure (May and June). Such an intensive fishery likely removes an excessive number of fish that would likely be reproductively active for longer than was previously thought (up to 29 years; Burton 2002). The establishment of the Tortugas Ecological Reserve was in part focused on protecting the Mutton Snapper spawning aggregation at Rileys Hump in the Lower Florida Keys using fisher outreach (Lindeman et al. 2000, Cowie-Haskell and Delaney 2003) and enforcement support including an advanced, high speed vessel (M/V Peter Gladding). Field research subsequent to the closure of Riley’s Hump suggests some population recovery may be occurring (Burton et al. 2005, A. Acosta pers. comm. 2014). In Cuba, the use of set nets has been banned since 2008 and long bottom trawls since 2012 over the entire shelf. In commercial and recreational fisheries, the minimum catch size is 25 cm FL, which allows a substantial catch of juveniles (Claro et al. 2009). Heyman and Kjerfve (2008) documented a consistent Mutton Snapper aggregation at an important multi-species aggregation area in Gladden Spit, Belize. There was a sharp reduction in landings and fishing effort in the late 1980s at this site during rapid growth in the tourism industry and during a shift in fisher livelihoods (Grandados-Dieseldorff et al. 2013). Annual CPUE, individual sizes and sex ratios have been relatively stable from 1999-2011, indicating persistence of the fishery and an absence of overfishing, at least at this site, which corresponds with consistent engagement with the fisher community. In Puerto Rico, there is a mandatory commercial license and permit requirement, and a temporal closure during the spawning season in state waters April-May and US federal waters from April-June. In the US Virgin Islands, there is a closed season from April-June in US federal waters (Russell et al. 2012).

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
suitability: Suitable season: resident 
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.9. Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)
suitability: Suitable season: resident 
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:No
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.3. Tourism & recreation areas
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.2. Intentional use: (large scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.3. Harvest & Trade Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends

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Citation: Lindeman, K., Anderson, W., Carpenter, K.E., Claro, R., Cowan, J., Padovani-Ferreira, B., Rocha, L.A., Sedberry, G. & Zapp-Sluis, M. 2016. Lutjanus analis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T12416A506350. . Downloaded on 02 July 2016.
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