Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 9, Issue 7, pp 919–942 | Cite as

The threatened status of groupers (Epinephelinae)

  • Annalie V. Morris
  • Callum M. Roberts
  • Julie P. Hawkins


The marine environment has traditionally been considered to be resilient to human impacts. However, concern over growing threats to marine biodiversity has led to a renewed effort to assess and quantify risks to marine species. This study assesses threats to the subfamily Epinephelinae of the Serranidae (groupers), a commercially and ecologically important group of predatory fish which are heavily exploited throughout their range. Eighty-five tropical species of the subfamily are examined in detail and classified according to 1996 IUCN Red List categories. Thirty-seven species (43.5%) are considered Threatened, of which two (Cromileptes altivelis and Epinephelus akaara) are Endangered, and the remaining 35 are Vulnerable. Thirty-four species (40%) are listed as Lower Risk and do not appear to be under immediate threat. Fourteen species (16.5%) are Data Deficient. Most of the threatened species are wide ranging. Large range size and the production of abundant, dispersive offspring are characteristics of groupers that have previously been considered to make them unlikely candidates for extinction. However, rapidly intensifying fisheries employing habitat-destructive gears now encompass vast areas of the tropics, putting many species at risk. Members of the genera Epinephelus and Mycteroperca were found to be particularly at risk, probably due to their large body sizes, long life-span and late reproduction.

endangered fish groupers marine biodiversity marine conservation Red List 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annalie V. Morris
    • 1
  • Callum M. Roberts
    • 1
  • Julie P. Hawkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Environment DepartmentUniversity of YorkYorkUK

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