Mycteroperca olfax 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Epinephelidae

Scientific Name: Mycteroperca olfax (Jenyns, 1840)
Common Name(s):
English Colorado Grouper, Mangrove, Sailfin Grouper, Sailfin Grouper, Sea Bass, Yellow Grouper
French Merou Voile
Spanish Bacalao, Bacalao, Cabrillejo, Cherna, Garropa Parda, Mero
Serranus olfax Jenyns, 1840

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2008-01-03
Assessor(s): Bertoncini, A.A., Gerhardinger, L.C., Sadovy, Y., Rocha, L., Choat, J.H., Ferreira, B. & Craig, M.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Moss, K.
Mycteroperca olfax is listed as Vulnerable (VU) because of its restricted range. Found only at three island or island-group locations. Clear evidence of fisheries declines are shown and continued fishing is an ever-present threat to the species.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Mycteroperca olfax is distributed in the eastern Pacific from the Isla del Coco off Costa Rica, Malpello of Colombia and the Galápagos Islands (Ecuador). Reports from Panama and Peru have been discounted.

The species is present in all biogeographical regions of the Galápagos Islands (Edgar et al. 2004, McCosker and Rosenblatt 1975, Heemstra and Randall 1993). It is rare in other islands within its distribution.

A single specimen has recently been reported from the coast of Ecuador (Bearez and Prado 2003).
Countries occurrence:
Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – southeast
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Mycteroperca olfax is common in the Galapagos Islands, but rare at other island sites within its range, with the size and the percentage of captured individuals within the fisheries decreasing (Marconi et al. 2001).

Density and Biomass
In the Galapagos, the estimated density of individuals is 2.97/500 m² within the marine reserve area, 2.86/500 m² in the tourism area and 2.6/500 m² in the fishing zone (Edgar et al. 2004).

The biomass (g/150 m²) of Mycteroperca olfax in lightly fished areas of the Galapagos was 2,959 (±413/±1SE) and 133 (±79.6), while density in lightly fished areas was 0.76 (+-0.096) and in heavily fished areas was 0.06 (±0.042) (Ruttenberg 2001).

A decade ago, M. olfax was the most valuable and exploited fish in the Galapagos Islands artisanal fishery (Kasteleijin 1987), comprising over 40% of the catch (Reck 1983). Now, this species comprises <20% of the catch, and fishers indicate that the CPUE and average individual size have declined (Bustamente 1988).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:General
Mycteroperca olfax is found among rock walls, rocky reef drop-off, underwater lava ridges, and all kinds of well-structured vertical rock formations (Reck 1983). Juveniles are found in shallow sandy lagoons (Heemstra and Randall 1993) and in seagrass beds, mangrove lagoons, shallow lava reefs and inland lava ponds. Adults are mainly piscivorous, prey size increasing with predator size (Reck 1983).

First maturation occurs at 47.5 cm and at four-years of age, with sex inversion at 83.1 cm, possibly at 12 years of age. The species has an annual reproduction cycle, with spawning peaks in October and December (Coello and Grimm 1993).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Artisanal Fisheries: known to be consumed in the Galapagos by locals and exported to Equador (Marconi et al. 2001, Fundación AZTI 2003). The most traditional and important fishery 20 years ago was for demersal fish, such as the endemic Sailfin (Galapagos) grouper Mycteroperca olfax, but this fishery has dwindled, largely due to the much higher market value of lobsters and sea cucumbers (Hearn 2004).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): General
The restricted range of Mycteroperca olfax makes it particularly vulnerable to any threat.

Although Mycteroperca olfax suffered a decrease from 30% to 11% of the total Galapagos capture fishery in 2000 (Guime, M.P. 2003). Nicolaides et al. (2002) report that the 2000 decrease reflected a change in the targeted resources (from April to December), with a shift in focus to sea cucumber and lobster (more profitable fisheries). Today, Mycteroperca olfax accounts for approximately 5% of the total annual Galapagos catch by value (Nicolaides et al. 2002; Edgar et al. 2004).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Mycteroperca olfax is present within the Galapagos Marine Reserve, Ecuador. Cocos Island is protected but improved management is needed. There are no measures specific to Mycteroperca olfax.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.9. Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)
12. Marine Intertidal -> 12.7. Marine Intertidal - Mangrove Submerged Roots
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
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
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.2. Intentional use: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Anonymous. 1997. Bulletin Statistique des Pêches, Année 1996. Centre National des Sciences Halieutiques de Boussoura., Bissau.

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. pp. 378. International Union for Conservation of Nature, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Béarez, P. and Jiménez-Prado, P. 2003. New records of serranids (Perciformes) from the continental shelf of Ecuador with a key to the species, and comments on ENSO-associated fish dispersal. Cybium 27(2): 107-115.

Chavance, P., Damiano, A., Diallo, A., Doumbouya, A., Drapeau, L., Koulibaly, M., Morize, E., Sidibe, A., Soumah, M. and Traoré, S. 1996. Bulletin Statistique des Pêches. Année 1995. Centre national des sciences halieutiques de boussoura, Bissau.

Coello, S. and Grimm, A.S. 1993. The reproductive biology of Mycteroperca olfax (Jenyns) (Pisces: Serranidae): protogyny and breeding season. Revista de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia 3(1): 115-128.

da Silva Monteiro, V.M. 1998. Peixes de Cabo Verde.

Delgado de Molina, A. and Santana, J.C. 1985. Estudio de Los Recursos Demersales de La Plataforma Continental de la Republic de Gabon. Informe Técnico-Instituto Espanol de Oceanografia.

Edgar, G.J., Banks, S., Fariña, J.M., Calvopiña, M. and Martínez, C. 2004. Regional biogeography of shallow reef fish and macro‐invertebrate communities in the Galapagos archipelago. Journal of Biogeography 31(7): 1107-1124.

Edgar, G.J., Bustamante, R.H., Farina, J.M., Calvopina, M., Martinez, C. and Toral-Granda, M.V. 2004. Bias in evaluating the effects of marine protected areas: the importance of baseline data for the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Environmental Conservation 31(3): 1-7.

Fundación AZTI. 2003. Estudio de prospectiva para la cadena productiva pesquera, en la región de la costa del pacífico, en América del Sur.

Guime, M.P. 2003. La Reserva Marina de Galapagos. Available at: (Accessed: 10 February 2007).

Hearn, A.R., Toral-Granda, M.V., Reck, G. and Bustamante, R. 2005. The rocky path to sustainability and conservation in the Galápagos marine reserve..

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-3. Available at: (Accessed: 7 September 2015).

Kasteleijin, H. 1987. Marine biological research in the Galpagos Islands: past, present and future..

Maigret, J. and Ly, B. 1986. Les poissons de mer de Mauritanie. Centre national de recherches océanographiques et des pêches (Mauritania) and Science Naturales, Compiègne, France.

Marconi, M.R., Beck, S. and Majluf, P. 2001. Conservación De Ecosistemas Transfronterizos Y Especies Amenazadas.

McCosker, J.E. and Rosenblatt, R.H. 1975. Fishes collected at Malpelo Island. Smithsonian Contrib. Zool. 176: 91-93.

Mohamed Fall, K.O. 2005 (unpublished). Fishes of Mauritania.

Nicolaides, F. and Murillo, J.C. 2001. Efectos de El Niño 1997-1998 y Post Niño 1990 en la pesca del bacalao Mycteroperca olfax y la lisa rabo negro (Mugil cephalus) de las Islas Galápagos. In: Falconí, C., Ruiz R.E., Valle C. (ed.), Informe Galápagos 2000–2001., pp. 104–109. Fundación Natura and WWF, Quito.

Nicolaides, F., Murillo, J.C., Toral, M.V., Reck, G. 2002. Bacalao. In: Danulat, E. and Edgar, G.J. (eds), Galapagos Marine Reserve Baseline Biodiversity, pp. 146-165.

Reck, G.K. 1983. The coastal fisheries in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Description and consequences for management in the context of marine environmental protection and regional development. Christian-Albrechts Universität.

Reiner, F. 1996. Catálogo dos Peixes do Arquipélago de Cabo Verde. Publicações avulsas do IPIMAR (Instituto de Investigacao das Pescas e do Mar), Lisbon, Portugal.

Rodriguez, W.T. 1984. Estudio preliminar para evaluar las caracteristicas biologicas pesqueras de Mycteroperca olfax en las islas Galapagos (Ecuador). Bol. Cient. Téc., Inst. Nac. Pesca, Guayaquil-Ecuador 6(3): 3-66.

Ruttenberg, B.I. 2001. Effects of artisanal fishing on marine communities in the Galapagos Islands. Conservation Biology 15(6): 1691-1699.

Sanches, J.G. 1991. Catálogo dos Principais Peixes Marinhos da República de Guiné-Bissau. Bissau.

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Citation: Bertoncini, A.A., Gerhardinger, L.C., Sadovy, Y., Rocha, L., Choat, J.H., Ferreira, B. & Craig, M. 2015. Mycteroperca olfax. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T14051A79474097. . Downloaded on 19 June 2018.
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