Achoerodus viridis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES LABRIDAE

Scientific Name: Achoerodus viridis
Species Authority: (Steindachner, 1866)
Common Name(s):
English Brown Groper, Eastern Blue Groper, Eastern Blue Wrasse, Giant Pig Fish, Red Groper
Synonym(s):
Heterochoerops viridis Steindachner, 1866
Heterochoerops viridis Steindachner, 1866
Platychoerops badius Ogilby, 1893
Platychoerops badius Ogilby, 1893
Trochocopus unicolor Günther, 1876
Trochocopus unicolor Günther, 1876
Taxonomic Notes: Identified first as Heterochoerops viridis (Steindachner 1866). A. viridis is considered to be a sibling species of A. gouldii and the two have been generally grouped together as A. gouldii in most of the literature until only fairly recently, i.e ~35 years or so ago (D. Pollard pers. comm. 2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-03-12
Assessor(s): Choat, J.H. & Pollard, D.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Carpenter, K.E.
Justification:
This species is a large long-lived wrasse and is protected in some marine reserves within its relatively restricted range in southeastern Australia. Protection in the southern part of its range is inconsistent and this species is still extremely suseptible to spear fishing. It has suffered severe declines in the past due to spear fishing (estimated to be up to 50%). These declines were stopped in the early 1970s when there was a ban on spearfishing and commercial fishing. Since then there has been no further decline in the population since that time. This species has a generation length of approximately 12-15 years. It is therefore estimated that this species has declined at least 30-50% since the early 1970s but populations are now considered to be stable given the current ban on spearfishing and commercial fishing. This species is therefore listed as Near Threatened under Criterion A1. However, if the ban would be lifted, this species would be of increased conservation concern as the population would most likely decrease due to the improvement of gear used to fish for this species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to inshore rocky shores and rocky reefs off south-eastern Australia (D. Pollard pers. comm. 2008). Its extent of occurance is less than 64,000 km2, and extends from Caloundra in southern Queensland to Wilsons Promontory in southern Victoria including east Bass Strait (Gomon et al. 2008).
Countries:
Native:
Australia
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no commercial fishery data for this species. The population has suffered severe declines of at least 30 to 50% in the past due to spear fishing (D. Pollard pers. comm. 2008), however spearfishing and the commercial net-fishing in New South Wales was banned in 1972. The population may now be stable.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Adult populations are the most common on coastal and offshore reefs. In an extensive study focused on central New South Wales populations (Gillanders 1999) gave maximum body length estimates of 100 cm and 18 kg.

Reaching a peak abundance of approximately two individuals per 125 m2 (Gillanders and Kingsford 1998), adult individuals (>20cm TL) are most abundant on rocky reefs including open coastal and offshore reefs. Juveniles and individuals (<20cm TL) are most abundant in estuarine and inshore reefs (Gillanders 1997). Newly settled larvae are collected from seagrass beds (Leis and Hay 2004) . Early juveniles in seagrass beds feeds on crustaceans. On rocky reefs food items are dominated by crabs molluscs and echinoderms. Adult foods also importantly include crabs, which is the main recreational line fishing bait used in New South Wales (D. Pollard pers. comm. 2008).

A protogynous monadric hermaphrodite females reach sexual maturity at two to three years. This species is a winter/spring (July/Sept) spawner (Gillanders 1995). Relatively little information on age-based demography. Gillanders (1999) provides estimates of age and size at maturity 295-300 mm (TL) or two to three years. All individuals < 600 mm TL are female. Maximum age estimates are 35 years with a 30 year fish reaching a total length of 725 mm. No comprehensive age-based demographic data including very large adults are available (J.H.Choat pers. comm.2008).

Generation length for this species is estimated to be between 12 and 15 years.
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is still subject to commercial fishery in Victoria. In 2002, 149,636 wrasses including Notolabrus tetricus, Ophthalmolepis lineolatus and a small number of A.viridis, were caught in New South Wales, while 120,000 were caught in Victoriia (Henry and Lyle 2003). Most of the Victoria wrasse catch is N. tetricus, with very little A. viridis being caught there. The New South Wales catch figures (Henry and Lyle 2003) are for the recreational line fishery only (D. Pollard pers. comm. 2008).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): As with most large labrid species, larger adults are relatively rare with a habitat restricted to coastal reefs. This species is endemic to southeastern Australia and has a limited geographic range. It was subject to intense spearfishing prior to 1960, and is still subject to recreational and minor commercial line fishing in Victoria. It is also subject to substantial recreational fishing and minor commercial fishing throughout its range, although species-specific population information is not available (J.H. Choat pers. comm. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Although it is the official New South Wales State fish emblem, this species is not a totally protected species in New South Wales. It is only protected against spearfishing, netting and commercial sale to protect it from large catches by spearfishers. In 1974, angling and commercial fishing were allowed again, but spearfishing was still prohibited. In 1975, concern over the large catches by commercial fishers led to a ban on bottom-set gill nets. All Blue Groper were banned from sale in 1980. There is currently a minimum size limit of 30 cm, and the bag limit is two per day with only one > 60cm (Smith et al. 1996, Gillanders 1999).

Angling is still allowed, with a bag limit of two fish in possession, taken by line only, and a "slot" size limit of >30 cm, with only one fish over 60 cm allowed. The spearfishing prohibition is in the form of a "rolling" ban, renewed possibly every 10 years. If this spearfishing ban were to be lifted, the species would very quickly decline in New South Wales waters given that they are very easy to spear, with even the biggest individuals up to almost a meter in length.

It is suspected that A.viridis which is smaller and maybe shorter lived than A. gouldiihas a higher turnover rate but there is still no real information on the very largest and oldest elements of the population and Fisheries New South Wales has no demographic data on this species.

Bibliography [top]

Gillanders, B. 1999. Blue groper. In: N. Andrew (ed.), Under southern seas: the ecology of Australia’s rocky reefs, pp. 188-193. University of New South Wales Press Wales Press, Sydney.

Gillanders, B.M. 1995. Reproductive biology of the protogynous hermaphrodite Achoerodus viridis (Labridae) from south-eastern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 46(7): 999-1008.

Gillanders, B.M. 1997. Patterns of abundance and size structure in the blue groper, Achoerodus viridis (Pisces, Labridae): Evidence of links between estuaries and coastal reefs. Environmental Biology of Fishes 49: 153-173.

Gillanders, B.M. and Kingsford, M.J. 1998. Influence of habitat on abundance and size structure of a large temperate-reef fish, Achoerodus viridis (Pisces: Labridae). Marine Biology 13(3): 503-514.

Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. and Kuiter, R.H. 2008. Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. New Holland.

Henry, G.W., and Lyle, J.M. 2003. The National Recreational and Indigenous Fishing Survey. NSW Fisheries Final Report Series: 48. Fisheries Research & Development Corporation and the Fisheries Action Program, Canberra, Australia.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.4). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 27 October 2010).

Leis, J.M. and Hay, A.C. 2004. Larval development of Achoerodus viridis (Pisces: Labridae), the Australian eastern blue groper. Ichthyological Research 51: 46-51.

Pogonoski, J.J., Pollard, D.A. and Paxton, J.R. 2002. Conservation overview and action plan for Australian threatened and potentially threatened marine and estuarine fishes. Environment Australia, Canberra, Australia.

Smith, A., Pollard, D. and Gillanders, B. 1996. The blue groper in NSW. Fishnote DF/63. NSW Fisheries, Sydney.


Citation: Choat, J.H. & Pollard, D. 2010. Achoerodus viridis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 July 2014.
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