Sphyraena argentea 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Sphyraenidae

Scientific Name: Sphyraena argentea Girard, 1854
Common Name(s):
English Pacific Barracuda, Barracuda, California Barracuda
French Bécune Argentée
Spanish Barracuda Plateada, Picuda Plateada

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-05-02
Assessor(s): Robertson, R., Collette, B., Molina, H., Guzman-Mora, A.G. & Salas, E.
Reviewer(s): Carpenter, K., Polidoro, B. & Livingstone, S. (Global Marine Species Assessment Team)
In California this species suffered massive declines in landings data from the 1920's till the 1970's due to commercial and sports fishing. The commercial fishing decreased in the 1970's, and restrictions were brought in to fishing gears, bag limits, seasonal and fish size limits on both commercial and sports fishing. The population appears to have increased using a proxy of increased landings data form the 1970's and so the fishing is not thought to currently present a major threat. This species is listed as Least Concern. However, if fishing restrictions were lifted then the population may be affected and placed in a threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is present in the eastern Pacific from Alaska down to California to the tip of Baja California, the southwestern Gulf of California and the Revillagigedos islands.
Countries occurrence:
Mexico; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – eastern central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):38
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In California, from 1920 -2001, annual landings data has decreased dramatically (California Department of Fish and Game 2001). In the 1920's the commercial take was 8,000,000 lbs and in 1970's the landings data were down to almost zero. Since the 1970's commercial fisheries take has not increased beyond half a million lbs. Restrictions have been established for fishing gears, bag limits, seasonal and fish size limits on both commercial and sports fishing. Sport fishing take in 1970 was approximately 25,000 fish (approximately 100,000lb). In the 1990's there was an increase of landings mostly from sports fishing to 446,000 fish (approximately 2,500,000 lbs). This increase was likely due to an introduction of restrictions in 1971 for both commercial and sports fisheries.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This pelagic species is usually near shore or near the surface; often in small schools; young enter bays; feeds mainly on other fishes (Eschmeyer 1983). It is found to 38m. It migrates south from the California coast during autumn, but may remain in front of the Mexican coast throughout the year (Sommer 1995).
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are possible threats from commercial and sports fishing although it is unknown how this impacts the population. There is an annual migration from California south to Baja California in the winter which takes them to areas in the tropical eastern Pacific without fishing restrictions. ENSO events have been shown to expand the range and to depress the population (California Department of Fish and Game 2001).

There are intensive directed commercial and sports fisheries for barracudas in the tropical eastern Pacific. They are caught with hook and line and with purse seines.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In California there are some fisheries restriction on size limits which protect the species while in these waters and seem to have produced a population rebound (landings data). However, 1) ENSO driven population depression and movements to outside of California, 2) annual migrations south from California mean that there may be threats in the rest of its range in the region.

Citation: Robertson, R., Collette, B., Molina, H., Guzman-Mora, A.G. & Salas, E. 2010. Sphyraena argentea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T178105A7488494. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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