Epinephelus andersoni

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES EPINEPHELIDAE

Scientific Name: Epinephelus andersoni
Species Authority: Boulenger, 1903
Common Name/s:
English Brown-spotted Rockcod, Catface Rockcod
Synonym/s:
Epinephelus andersoni Boulenger, 1903

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor/s: Fennessy, S. (Grouper & Wrasse Specialist Group)
Reviewer/s: Sadovy, Y. & Cornish, A. (Grouper & Wrasse Red List Authority)
Justification:
In South Africa, the mean size of fish has not declined (mid 1980s to mid 1990s), but the current level of fishing mortality has reduced spawning biomass per recruit to 42% of the unexploited level (Fennessy 2000). No historical CPUE (catch per unit of effort) data or historical sex ratio data are currently available. In Mozambique, fishing effort is now substantially higher now than in the mid-1990s, although there are no CPUE data currently available.

The species has a very restricted range, although there is no indication that extent of occurrence or area of occupancy are declining. The reported range is from 24°50'S to 34°05'S (Heemstra and Randall 1993). The species does not occur in water depths much greater than 50 m, and, based on calculated sea floor area to the 50 m isobath, the extent of occurrence of the species is therefore about 15,400 km². The area of occupancy is in reality much less than this, since the species is closely reef-associated, and assuming that 10% of the area of occurrence is reef, then effective habitat (reef) area is about 1,500 km². Not all of this reef area is in fact suitable habitat, since a large proportion of this is coral reef and E. andersoni is not a coral reef species.

This species is classified as Near Threatened as current data indicate a population reduction of ≥30% is possible due to fishing over a 10 year or three generation period where the time period includes both the past and the future i.e., just misses listing as VU A2d+3d+4d – current population trend is unknown but an increase in fishing pressure and the limited range mean that attention is needed for this species. Although the EOO and AOO are small, especially for a marine species with pelagic larvae, there is no evidence of declines, fluctuations or fragmentation in these areas. It also occurs in relatively shallow, and therefore accessible, waters.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Epinephelus andersoni occurs along the east coast of South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces to 34°05'S), and southern Mozambique (to 24°50'S). Reports of this species occurring in Madagascar are dubious (Heemstra and Randall 1993). It is relatively abundant only between 32°15'S and 24°50'S. See the assessment justification for details on extent of occurrence and area of occupancy.
Countries:
Native:
Mozambique; South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – western
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Relatively common in South African waters, particularly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The South African population is assumed to be the same stock as in Mozambique. The South African population is assumed to be larger because most of the Mozambican reefs are coral, and this is not a coral reef species.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Closely associated with shallow rocky reefs. Rarely recorded on coral reefs (Chater et al. 1993, Chater et al. 1995). Spawning does not occur south of 30o, and not all fish spawn every year (Fennessy 2000). There is some evidence that there are spawning-related increases in abundance (aggregations) during summer (January to March). The species is a relatively slow-growing, diandric protogynous hermaphrodite i.e., some males are derived from functional females, but some develop from the juvenile phase, so the sex ratio is not female biased as in monandric protogynous hermaphrodites (Fennessy 2000). Size/age at first maturity for females and males is similar. Tagging results indicate that there is a high degree of site fidelity (Bullen and Fennessy 2000).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Over-fishing by commercial and recreational hook and line fishing are a moderate threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Good protection in a 155 km long marine protected area (MPA) in South Africa, although E. andersoni is confined to the inshore (< ca. 200 m from the shore) non-coral reefs there, so suitable habitat in the MPA is restricted. A minimum size limit of 400 mm TL applies, soon to be increased to 500 mm. There is currently a recreational bag limit of five fish per person per day (within that category of fish), soon to become a bag limit of five for both recreational and commercial sectors. Commercial fishing effort is restricted (number of permits is limited) and has recently been reduced. Fairly good compliance with regulations owing to an active conservation agency in KwaZulu-Natal. No bag or size limit restrictions in Mozambique.

Bibliography [top]

Bullen, E.M. and Fennessy, S.T. 2000. Sedgwick's /ORI/WWF tagging programme: catface rockcod (Epinephelus andersoni) (code 16634). Data Report. Oceanographic Research Institute (2000.10): 6p.

Chater, S.A., Beckley, L.E., Garratt, P.A., Ballard, J.A. and van der Elst, R.P. 1993. Fishes from offshore reefs in the St Lucia and Maputaland Marine Reserves, South Africa. Lammergeyer. 42: 1-17.

Chater, S.A., Beckley, L.E., van der Elst, R.P. and Garratt, P.A. 1995. Underwater visual census of fishes in the St Lucia marine reserve, South Africa. Lammergeyer. 43: 15-23.

Fennessy, S.T. 2000. Comparative life histories and stock assessments of rock cods (Family Serranidae) from the east coast of South Africa. PhD thesis, University of Natal, Durban:165p

Fennessy, S.T. and Sadovy, Y. 2002. Reproductive biology of a diandric protogynous hermaphrodite, the serranid Epinephelus andersoni. Marine and Freshwater Research 53 (2): 147-158.

Heemstra, P.C. and Randall, J.E. 1993. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (Family Serranidae, Subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis. No. 125, Vol. 16. Rome, FAO.

IUCN. 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 23 November 2004.

Citation: Fennessy, S. (Grouper & Wrasse Specialist Group) 2004. Epinephelus andersoni. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 April 2014.
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