Paralichthys californicus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Pleuronectiformes Paralichthyidae

Scientific Name: Paralichthys californicus
Species Authority: (Ayres, 1859)
Common Name(s):
English Fine Flounder
Hippoglossus californicus Ayres, 1859

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2007-05-25
Assessor(s): Lea, B. & van der Heiden, A.
Reviewer(s): Carpenter, K., Polidoro, B. & Livingstone, S. (Global Marine Species Assessment Team)
This species is widespread in the Eastern Pacific, and its population is stable in the United States. It is a popular species for sport and commercial fishing, however this is not thought to pose any significant threat. It is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to the Eastern Pacific, and is found from Washington state, USA to Magdalena Bay, Baja California.
Countries occurrence:
Mexico; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – eastern central
Lower depth limit (metres): 183
Upper depth limit (metres): 1
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population for this species appears to be stable in the majority of its range off the coast of California (Haugen 1990). Thjs species has shown a historical decline in commercial landings from a maximum of 5,000,000 lbs in 1919, mainly due to overfishing. In the late 1950s and 1960s, there was a slight increase in landings following warmer waters during El Niño events. Annual landings in 1970 were a historical low of 257,000 lb. Since 1980 however, landings have been relatively stable and average a little more than 1 million lb annually (California Fish and Game 2004).
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species lives on soft sand and sandy mud bottoms in coastal areas to depths of 180 m. It can also be found in larger bays and estuaries.
Systems: Freshwater; Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is an important sport and commercial fish. It is sometimes caught with trammel nets, and it is marketed as fresh fillet (Hensley 1995). It is also occasionally caught in shrimp trawling activities.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species population is likely limited by the amount of available nursery habitat, as juvenile halibut appear to be dependent on shallow water embayments as nursery areas. The overall decline in halibut landings is considered to correspond to a decline in shallow water habitats in southern California associated with dredging and filling of bays and wetlands (California Dept of Fish and Game 2004).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The fishing of this species is stricty regulated in the USA, and it is recommended that similar measures should be implemented in Mexico.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.4. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy
suitability: Suitable  
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.5. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy-Mud
suitability: Suitable  
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.6. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Muddy
suitability: Marginal  
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.10. Marine Neritic - Estuaries
suitability: Suitable  
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.1. International level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.2. Commercial & industrial areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.3. Tourism & recreation areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Sport hunting/specimen collecting
 Local : ✓   National : ✓ 

♦  Other (free text)
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Ayres, W.O. 1859. On new fishes of the Californian coast. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences (Series 1) 2: 25-52.

California Department of Fish and Game. 2004. Annual Status of the Fisheries Report through 2003. California Department of Fish and Game, Marine Region.

Haugen, C.W. 1990. The California halibut, Paralichthys californicus, resource and fisheries. California Dept of Fish and Game.

Hensley, D.A. 1995. Paralichthyidae. Lenguados. FAO, Rome.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.3). Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2010).

Robertson, D.R. and Allen, G.R. 2006. Shore fishes of the tropical eastern Pacific: an information system. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Panamá.

Citation: Lea, B. & van der Heiden, A. 2010. Paralichthys californicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T183801A8179465. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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