Actinopyga spinea 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Echinodermata Holothuroidea Aspidochirotida Holothuriidae

Scientific Name: Actinopyga spinea Cherbonnier, 1980
Common Name(s):
English New Caledonia Blackfish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-05-18
Assessor(s): Conand, C., Gamboa, R. & Purcell, S.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B., Harwell, H., Carpenter, K.E. & Knapp, L.
This species is known from New Caledonia, the Torres Strait and the Great Barrier Reef where it is considered to be abundant in at least some areas, and is found to depths of 40 m. It is of medium value and has been strongly targeted since 2002, but there has been no evidence of widespread decline in at least the past 5 years. Therefore it is listed as Least Concern. Given the current high rate of catch and this species' relatively small range, more data are urgently needed on the fishery, as well as more information on this species' biology.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species can be found in the Western Central Pacific Region (Kinch et al. 2008), especially around New Caledonia and the Great Barrier Reef (Australia).
Countries occurrence:
Australia; New Caledonia
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):40
Upper depth limit (metres):5
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is considered to be abundant. Purcell et al. (2009) found it at one-third of surveyed lagoonal reef sites in New Caledonia. This species was quite common at some sites, with estimates greater than 1,500 ind*km-2 of reef there. It makes up 60-80% of the catch in the Great Barrier Reef (Purcell pers. comm. 2010). The fishery in Queensland for this species began in earnest in 2002, when catches went from less than 10 tonnes in 2001 to more than 180 tonnes (wet weight), with the CPUE showing a similar trend (QDPIF 2005).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is found on coral reefs, lagoons and estuaries to at least 40 m, although it prefers muddy-sand lagoons and reef flats (Purcell et al. 2008). It seems to prefer softer sediments in which to bury. However, even when buried, the posterior end of the animals are often still evident. 

No information is known on its changes of habitat requirements during the life history of the species, but generally, the juveniles of aspidochirotids are cryptic and small individuals may migrate into adult habitat later (Purcell 2004).


Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is harvested throughout its distribution for use in the bĂȘche-de-mer industry.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

This species is fished in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia) and New Caledonia. In the latter it is among the dominant species in the catches (Kinch et al. 2008). It is fished in high quantities, but at this time catches are not considered to be excessive and at least in one site, declines have not been more than 10% over the past 5 years (2004-2009).

Although not one of the most important species (medium value) for fishery purposes, it can be expected that this species may become more popular after the depletion or reduction of other species of higher commercial importance and value. It is caught by hand diving on hookah.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known conservation measures in place for this species. It is present in at least a few marine protected areas within its range. However, more information is needed on the biology of this species as well as the fisheries it is a part of.

With the inclusion of Isostichopus fuscus in CITES Appendix III, a debate started on whether the conservation of this group may be addressed with their inclusion in one of CITES appendices. The debate started in Conference of the Parties (CoP) 12 (Santiago, Chile) and extended to CoP 14 (The Hague, Netherlands). No recent advances have been achieved on this matter. For a revision of the possible pros and cons of a CITES listing, please see Toral-Granda (2007).

Citation: Conand, C., Gamboa, R. & Purcell, S. 2013. Actinopyga spinea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T180495A1638451. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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