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Epinephelus fasciatus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES EPINEPHELIDAE

Scientific Name: Epinephelus fasciatus
Species Authority: (Forsskål, 1775)
Common Name(s):
English Blacktip Grouper, Banded Reed Cod, Black-tipped Grouper, Black-tipped Rockcod, Black-tipped Rock-cod, Footballer Cod, Golden Grouper, Red Banded Grouper, Red Banned Grouper, Redbarred Roccod, Rock Cod, Striped Grouper, Banded Rock Cod
French Erou Oriflamime, Grisette, Loche Escarlate, Loche Rouge, Merou A Capuchon, Merou Badeche, Merou Oriflamme, Rouge De Cote, Rougette, Sorte De Loche, Vieille Rouge
Spanish Falso Abadejo, Mero Banderilla
Synonym(s):
Cerna alexandrina (Valenciennes, 1828)
Epinephelus alexandrinus (Valenciennes, 1828)
Epinephelus emoryi Schultz, 1953
Epinephelus goreensis (non Valenciennes, 1830)
Epinephelus spiramen (non Whitley, 1945)
Epinephelus tsirimenara (Temminck & Schlegeli, 1842)
Epinephelus variolosus (Valenciennes, 1828)
Epinephelus zapyrus Seale, 1906
Epinephelus zaslavskii (non Poll, 1949)
Holocentrus erythraceus Bloch & Schneider, 1901
Holocentrus forskael Lacepede, 1802
Holocentrus marinatus Lacepede, 1802
Holocentrus oceanicus Lacepede, 1802
Holocentrus rosmarus Lacepede, 1802
Perca fasciata Forsskal, 1775
Perca maculata Forster, 1844
Plectropoma fasciata (Forsskal, 1775)
Serranus alexandrinus (Valenciennes, 1828)
Serranus cruentatus De Vis, 1884
Serranus fasciatus (Forsskal, 1775)
Serranus geometricus De Vis, 1844
Serranus marginalis (Bloch, 1793)
Serranus oceanicus (Lacepede, 1802)
Serranus subfasciatus De Vis, 1884
Serranus tsirimenara Temminck & Schlegeli, 1842
Serranus variolosus Valenciennes, 1828
Taxonomic Notes: Heemstra and Randall (1993) indicate that there is considerable intraspecific variation, and suggest that there are six populations based on scale counts and colour differences: Indian Ocean and Red Sea, Western Australia, Western Pacific, Japan, Pacific Plate islands, Marquesas Islands.

Variation in colour patterns: in Western Australian specimens the margin of the spinous dorsal fin is dark red versus black in most other specimens; specimens from the Marquesas islands have irregular white spots on head and body.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Fennessy, S., Kulbicki, M., Cabanban, A.S., Myers, R. & Choat, J.H.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Moss, K. (Grouper and Wrasse Red List Authority)
Justification:
Epinephelus fasciatus is one of the most widespread and common groupers and it occurs in numerous well managed marine protected areas. Therefore, this species has been assessed as Least Concern. However there are distinct sub-populations and certain regional assessments may consider this species to be Near Threatened or Vulnerable because of overfishing and potential for habitat degradation. Increased management of this species is needed in some areas. Catch and catch rate data are limited, mainly because they are seldom identified to species, but are lumped with other groupers. Available data are widely spatially separated and contradictory, probably reflecting area-specific variation in stock status and habitat preferences of this species. There has been a steady decline in CPUE in southern Japan, to less than one third of that at the beginning of the time series. There has been inconsistent variation in catches from Mozambique. In Reunion, total catch has dropped by 40% in comparison to that of 13 years ago, with similar total effort levels, although data are inaccurate, being voluntary. In the Pacific, catches have declined to about 25% of what they were 50 years ago in one locality, but in other localities this trend is not apparent.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: General
Epinephelus fasciatus is an Indo-Pacific species ranging from the Red Sea to Port Alfred (South Africa) (33°36’S), eastward to the Pitcairn Group, north to Japan and Korea, and south to the Arafura Sea, southern Queensland and Lord Howe Island (Australia). The species is one of the two most widely distributed groupers. It may not occur off Wallace and Futuna islands.

Country-specific
Red Sea, Somalia (Myers distributional database 2006), Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, KwaZulu-Natal South Africa, Madagascar, Seychelles, Comores, Mauritius, Réunion, Oman (Myers distributional database 2006), Yemen, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, southern Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia (Northern Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Great Barrier Reef), Papua-New Guinea, Taiwan, southern Japan, Korea, southern China, Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Samoa, and New Caledonia. Source: Heemstra and Randall (1993), unless otherwise stated.
Countries:
Native:
American Samoa (American Samoa); Australia; British Indian Ocean Territory; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Comoros; Cook Islands; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Fiji; French Polynesia; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Israel; Japan; Jordan; Kenya; Kiribati; Korea, Republic of; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Marshall Islands; Mauritius; Mayotte; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; Myanmar; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Norfolk Island; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Pitcairn; Réunion; Samoa; Saudi Arabia; Seychelles; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Wallis and Futuna; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: General
Epinephelus fasciatus is one of the most widespread and common of all grouper species. There are some questions about distinct sub-populations and there are also known declines in some areas. The species appears to be able to replace other larger grouper species that are fished out.

Subpopulations
Up to six populations may exist, based on meristic and colour variation.

Follow the link below for Table 1: Intra-specific variation in E. fasciatus characters.

Fisheries-independent data
Not seen in northern Somalia while diving on shallow (2 to 14 m) non-coral reefs in northern-eastern Somalia (Mann and Fielding 2000). Not reported from the North Kenya Banks in the late 1950s (Morgans 1964). Reported in shallow (<30 m) SCUBA dives in southern Mozambique coral reefs between Ponta do Ouro and Inhaca (Robertson et al. 1996, Pereira 2003). In shallow (9 to 13 m) fixed transect UVC surveys in the St Lucia and Maputaland Marine Reserves (northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) between 1987 and 1992, Chater et al. (1995) recorded five individuals out of 43 groupers, and rated it as common based on informal fishing and diving surveys in these MPAs. Classified as abundant (~27 individuals per 1,000 m² of reef) in the Seychelles (Pears 2005). On the west coast of India, this species was recorded at only one of nine shallow water (2 to 28 m) sites surveyed in shallow water (2 to 28 m; Sluka and Lazarus unpub.). Rare in Hong Kong (Sadovy and Cornish 2000). Classified as rare (~0.6 individuals per 1,000 m² of reef) on the GBR (Pears 2005); low densities (0.22 to 0.89 fish/4,000 m²) in UVC dives on mid-shelf and outer-shelf reefs (Newman et al. 1997). In terms of densities, this species ranked 8th of 12 grouper species in French Polynesia, 10th of 18 grouper species in Tonga and 6th of 32 grouper species in New Caledonia. Densities were highest at the latter locality.

Follow the link below for Table 2: Densities (no. of fish/km²) of E. fasciatus.

Fisheries-dependent data
Few (n=4 of 130 groupers) recorded in linefish catches in the east African region by the mid 1970s (Nzioka 1977). Initially quite commonly recorded (8% of all groupers; only percentages available) in commercial line catches from southern Mozambique in the mid-1990s after the fishery rapidly developed following 20 years of light fishing effort during the civil war (Dengo and David 1993, van der Elst et al., 1994). Subsequently (to 2005), its contribution to grouper catches fluctuated between 0 and 4% by number (D. Gove, Mozambican Fisheries Research Institute, pers. comm.). Not recorded in trap catches in central Mozambique from 1997-1998 (Abdula et al. 2000). Not recorded from commercial boat line catches (12,094 groupers) from central KZN coast (non-coral reefs) from 2002 to 2006 (Fennessy unpub. data). Harmelin-Vivien and Bouchon (1976) reported it to be one of the most abundant serranids in south-west Madagascar at depths of 20 to 45 m, although commercial fishers report it to be very rare off Tamatave on the East coast (A. Pages, Refrigepeche, Est. pers. comm.). Makes an important contribution to artisinal catches in Reunion (Table 3) and is a primary target of artisinal fishers in the Seychelles (Pittman 1996). This author also noted that it was particularly abundant on reefs of Baie Ternay Marine Park and Brizarre Rock. Spawning aggregations reported from Sabah, Eastern Malaysia (Daw 2004). Percentage contributions (assumed to be by number) to grouper catches from “essentially unexploited” deep-slope reefs were low in Micronesia (0.55%) and Polynesia (1.82%) - Dalzell and Preston (1992), reported in Dalzell et al. (1996).

Follow the link below for:
Table 3: Data from Yaeyama Is. fishing market (Ishigaki and Iriomote Island) of the southern part of Okinawa island.
Table 4: Catch data (port monitoring) for the Mozambican commercial line fishery.
Table 5: Small-scale artisinal fishery catches (mt; voluntary estimated data provided by fishers) from Reunion.
Table 6: Catches (kg) from three localities in the Pacific.
Table 7: Length frequencies of E. fasciatus.
For further information about this species, see 132817_Epinephelus_fasciatus.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: General
Epinephelus fasciatus is a reef-associated species that is common in outer reef slopes at depths below 15 m to 160 m. Less common on non-coral reefs. It also occurs in protected bays and lagoons as shallow as 4 m. Blacktip grouper may also be found down to a depth of 160 m. It occurs on mid-shelf reefs on the GBR, Queensland (Pears, 2005; Newman et al 1997) and is very common around dead coral blocks in seagrass beds in the Red Sea (southern Egypt) (Lieske and Myers 2004).

Feeding
In Madagascar it feeds night and day on brachyuran crabs, fishes, shrimps, and galatheid crabs. In Kenyan waters it feeds on crabs, stomatopods, fishes, ophiuroids, and octopus and in the Red Sea, mostly fishes and some crustaceans (mainly crabs) are consumed (Morgans 1964, Harmein-Vivien and Bouchon 1976). In Tuamotu archipelago the species is reported as a macro-carnivore (Mellin et al. 2006).

Reproduction and maturity
Blacktip grouper is a small species (max. size to 40 cm TL), with a relatively fast growth rate and small size at maturity. The species is known to form spawning aggregations in Sabah (Daw, 2004). Backtip grouper can attain sexual maturity at 12 cm SL (Sadovy and Cornish 2000), although Myers (1999) gives a length of 16 cm (SL). Maximum age is reported at 19 years (Pears 2005) (Table 8). Reproductively active fish were obtained in February on the North Kenya Banks and/or off Mafia island, Tanzania (Nzioka, 1979). Spawning aggregations have been reported from Sabah, Eastern Malaysia (Daw 2004). A length-weight relationship is given by Kulbicki et al. (2005) of y g = 0.0138.x cm FL.3.04066. Male and females mature at the same size (20 cm) in New Caledonia to implies gonochorism for this species; sex rations of 2:1 females to male were established (IRD database).

Follow the link below for Table 8: Growth parameters for E. fasciatus from the Great Barrier Reef (Lizard island, Townsville, Mackay, Pompey combined) and Seychelles (Northern and Southern Amirantes) (Pears 2005); New Caledonia (Loubens 1978).
For further information about this species, see 132817_Epinephelus_fasciatus.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): General
The greatest threat to Epinephelus fasciatus is loss of habitat from episodes of coral reef bleaching in the range of this species that are likely to occur increasingly as SST increases (Sheppard 2003). Other threats include dynamiting of reefs, fishing with poisons and netting on reefs that have resulted in loss of habitat in several countries, such as Tanzania, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia (Spalding et al. 2001, Kunzmann 2004).

Fishing
Most of the fishing effort for blacktip grouper in the region is small-scale, but it is largely unregulated and can generally be assumed to be increasing (e.g., Martosubroto 2005, Cunningham and Bodiguel 2006, Morgan 2006, Flewwelling and Hosch 2006). The species is caught for the live reef fish trade (Lee and Sadovy 1998).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: General
Epinephelus fasciatus occurs in numerous marine protected areas throughout its range.

Country-specific
Africa
Only 225 km² of reefs are no take-areas in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique (Wells et al. 2007), however compliance is variable. In KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, most of the north coast which contains coral reefs is protected by a 145 km long MPA in which no demersal fishing is allowed, and is strictly enforced. It is intended that this MPA and the southern Mozambique coast from Ponta d’Ouro to Maputo will be incorporated into a Transboundary MPA, with areas zoned for protection, which should offer further protection to this species.

South Africa
In South Africa, as part of a suite of restricted species, a maximum of five individuals of this species may be retained by recreational fishers in one day; no limits for commercial fishers.

Mozambique
In Mozambique, a maximum of 10 individuals of demersal species may be retained by recreational fishers.

Australia
Occurs throughout the GBR Marine Park, and there are also size and bag limit restrictions for the recreational fishery in the state of Queensland, Australia.

Philippines
In the Philippines in the Tubataha Marine Protected Area, Sulu Sea.

Citation: Fennessy, S., Kulbicki, M., Cabanban, A.S., Myers, R. & Choat, J.H. 2008. Epinephelus fasciatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 October 2014.
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