US$10,000 Grouper Meal
cr10 at york.ac.uk
Fri Nov 29 06:46:48 EST 1996
Using Yvonne Sadovy's length fecundity relationship for groupers,
taking the length of the beast as accurately measured at 3 metres,
and assuming a 1kg fish is 38cm long, the 230kg grouper would have
carried the same number of eggs as 523 1kg fishes. Of course, this
old fish was probably a male and may have been getting too long in
the tooth to chase those younger and smaller than itself...!
It is a fair point though that the economics of the large, live food fish
fishery are such that reefs will be strip mined of the biggest fish
unless the trade is regulated against. Such values make it cost
effective to fly or ship in live reef fish from even the remotest regions
of the world and the appetite for them is growing. This was a key
reason why fish like the Napoleon or humphead wrasse (Cheilinus
undulatus), and Bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum)
were placed on the IUCN Red List early this year as being vulnerable
throughout their (large) ranges.
People like Jim Bohnsack have been talking for some time about
implementing maximum size limits for take of some reef fishes.
There may already be some examples.
I would love to see the use of marine reserves, fully protected from
fishing, become a commonplace feature of fisheries management
globally. Such reserves provide critical refuges for large and
long-lived species and may be one of the only effective ways of
maintaining populations of them. Throughout large areas of the
Caribbean the biggest groupers have either disappeared or become
very rare due to overfishing (straightforward artisanal exploitation -
no big bucks profits here). We also Red Listed a number of them as
vulnerable. Increasingly I can see that the conservation lobby will
become much more involved and vocal about fisheries management
issues. If we don't act soon, global extinctions may follow the many
local extinctions that have already occurred.
Ref: Sadovy, Y. (1996) Reproduction of reef fishery species. Chapter
2 in N.V.C. Polunin and C.M. Roberts (eds), Reef Fisheries, Chapman
and Hall, London.
Dr Callum Roberts
Dept of Environmental Economics and Environmental Management
University of York
York, YO1 5DD
Tel: +44 (0)1904 434066; Fax: +44 (0)1904 432998; email
cr10 at york.ac.uk
More information about the Coral-list-old