Oceanic, latitudinal, and sex-specific variation in demography of a tropical deepwater snapper across the indo-pacific region

Williams, Ashley J., Wakefield, Corey B., Newman, Steohen J., Vourey, Elodie, Abascal, Francisco J., Halafihi, Tuikolongahau, Kaltavara, Jeremie, and Nicol, Simon J. (2017) Oceanic, latitudinal, and sex-specific variation in demography of a tropical deepwater snapper across the indo-pacific region. Frontiers in Marine Science, 4. 382.

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Deepwater tropical fisheries provide an important source of income and protein to Pacific and Indian Ocean coastal communities who are highly dependent on fish for food security. The development of quantitative assessments and management strategies for these deepwater fisheries has been hindered by insufficient biological and fisheries data. We examine the age-specific demography of the pygmy ruby snapper Etelis carbunculus, an important target species in tropical deepwater fisheries, across 90° of longitude and 20° of latitude in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Our results show that growth of E. carbunculus varies significantly between oceans and sexes and across latitudes in both oceans. Estimates of natural and fishing mortality were similar between oceans, but higher for females than males in both oceans. Evidence of greater fishing pressure on females than males is likely due to the larger size-at-age of females compared to males, assuming that selectivity of the fishing gear is related directly to fish size. Sex ratios were significantly female biased in both oceans despite this species being gonochoristic, and maturity schedules were similar between sexes in the Pacific Ocean. This species exhibits a protracted spawning season from mid-spring to autumn (i.e., October to May) in the Pacific Ocean. These results represent the first estimates of age-specific demographic parameters for E. carbunculus, and provide the foundation for the development of the first species-specific assessment models and harvest strategies for the species. Future stock assessment models for E. carbunculus should consider sex-specific demographic parameters and spatial variation in demography. Our results reveal substantial differences in biology between E. carbunculus and the giant ruby snapper E. sp., a cryptic congeneric species, and thus contribute to greater clarity in managing fisheries that are dependent on these two species. Furthermore, the improved information on the life history of E. carbunculus contributes to the broader sustainable management and improved food security for deepwater snapper fisheries in the Indo-Pacific region.

Item ID: 54155
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2296-7745
Keywords: data poor fisheries; deepwater fisheries; Etelis carbunculus; growth; maturity; mortality
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This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Funders: Pacific Community, New Caledonia, WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), French Pacific Fund, Zone Économique de Nouvelle-Calédonie, Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2018 01:57
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310307 Population ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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