[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the Gulf, multiple human impacts and recurrent bleaching events have resulted in serious declines of coral assemblages, particularly in near-shore areas. However, the degree to which the extinction risk of coral-dependent fishes is impacted by these coral declines has been uncertain. Using primary literature and expert knowledge, coral-dependent fishes of the Gulf were identified and species-specific data on the regional distribution, population status, life history characteristics, and major threats were compiled to determine their likelihood of extinction under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species' Categories and Criteria. Due to the limited area and degraded and fragmented nature of coral assemblages in the Gulf, all coral-dependent fishes (where data was sufficient to assess) were listed at elevated risk of extinction. Cross-boundary collaboration among Gulf States is necessary for effective management and protection of coral assemblages and their associated communities within this globally important region.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Marine Pollution Bulletin
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Percomorphs are a large and diverse group of spiny-finned fishes that have come to be known as the "bush at the top" due to their persistent lack of phylogenetic resolution. Recently, the broader E-uteleost Tree of Life Project (EToL) inferred a well-supported phylogenetic hypothesis that groups the diversity of percomorphs into nine well-supported series (supraordinal groups): Ophidiaria, Batrachoidaria, Gobiaria, Syngnatharia, Pelagiaria, Anabantaria, Carangaria, Ovalentaria, and Eupercaria. The EToL also provided, for the first time, a monophyletic definition of Perciformes - the largest order of vertebrates. Despite significant progress made in accommodating the diversity of percomorph taxa into major clades, some 62 families (most previously placed in "Perciformes", as traditionally defined) were not examined by the EToL. Here, we provide evidence for the phylogenetic affinities of 10 of those 62 families, seven of which have largely remained enigmatic. This expanded taxonomic sampling also provides further support for the nine EToL supraordinal series. We examined sequences from 21 genes previously used by the EToL and added two fast-evolving mitochondrial markers in an attempt to increase resolution within the rapid percomorph radiations. We restricted the taxonomic sampling to 1229 percomorph species, including expanded sampling from recent studies. Results of maximum likelihood analysis revealed that bathyclupeids (Bathyclupeidae), galjoen fishes (Dichistiidae), kelpfishes (Chironemidae), marblefishes (Aplodactylidae), trumpeters (Latridae), barbeled grunters (Hapalogenyidae), slopefishes (Symphysanodontidae), and picarel porgies (formerly Centracanthidae) are members of the series Eupercaria ("new bush at the top"). The picarel porgies and porgies (Sparidae) are now placed in the same family (Sparidae). Our analyses suggest a close affinity between the orders Spariformes (including Lethrinidae, Nemipteridae and Sparidae) and Lobotiformes (including the tripletails or Lobotidae, the barbeled grunters, and tigerperches or Datnioididae), albeit support for this group is low. None of the newly examined families belong in the order Perciformes, as recently defined. Finally, we confirm results from other recent studies that place the Australasian salmons (Arripidae) within Pelagiaria, and the false trevallies (Lactariidae) close to flatfishes, jacks, and trevallies, within Carangaria.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coral reefs within the Coral Triangle (CT) are home to the greatest marine diversity on the globe and are an important supplier of marine resources to densely populated coastal regions. Many coral reefs within the CT and around the world are under threat from over-exploitation. Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been proven to be effective tools in restoring fish stocks. However, the role that MPAs play in promoting connectivity at greater distances through larval dispersal is still unknown. RADseq was used to discover 4253 SNPs from 81 individuals of the dusky parrotfish (Scarus niger) collected from three sites within the Philippines. A lack of population structure suggested a high rate of gene flow (F
ST = 0.007). Estimates of Ne from linkage disequilibrium are relatively large, ranging from 1200 to 2000. A sibling analysis revealed one pair of well-supported full siblings (r = 0.773) and one pair of putative half siblings (r = 0.191) between sites separated by more than 500 km. The low F
ST values indicate a high degree of gene flow between the reefs within the sampling area while the sibling analysis suggests demographic connectivity between the Sibuyan Sea and the Sulu Sea. The Mindoro–Panay throughflow is a likely vector by which larvae are transported between these sites, suggesting that reefs in Romblon are sources for reefs near Basay, 400 km to the south. Given the reliance of a vast majority of coral reef fishes on larval dispersal, this study reveals that MPAs established within the central Philippines can supply varying levels of larvae to overfished reefs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Croakers (Sciaenidae) are major fishery resource in Brazil; constituting 22% of marine and 9% of freshwater fishery landings. Croakers are subject to heavy fishing pressure throughout Brazil, but habitat alteration is also an important threat to regional populations. In this regional Sciaenidae assessment, each species was analyzed for relative risk of extinction, including the identification and quantification of the impact of major threats and existing conservation measures, based on application of the Categories and Criteria of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Of the 52 species of Sciaenid fishes (34 marine and 18 freshwater) present in Brazilian waters, the majority are at low risk of extinction, with 10 species classified as Data Deficient (DD) and 36 as Least Concern (LC). However the Southern black drum (Pogonias cromis), listed as Endangered (EN) is the most threatened species in the region, while three other species are classified as Near Threatened (NT). A large portion of Brazilian croakers is landed by small-scale artisanal fisheries, which are scattered along coastal and riverine communities. However, our assessments reveal that available fishery landing statistics may have greatly underestimated the artisanal fishery production and by-catch of Sciaenids. We recommend establishing, with adequate enforcement, coastal and riverine protected areas as well as strategic fishing seasons to improve and maintain the conservation status of Sciaenids and sustainable Sciaenid fisheries.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Global Ecology and Conservation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aim | The European Red List is a review of the conservation status of European species according to IUCN regional Red Listing guidelines. It identifies those species that are threatened with extinction at the regional level, so that appropriate conservation action can be taken to improve their status. This Red List publication summarises results for all described native European marine fishes.
Scope | All marine fishes, including all hagfish, cartilaginous fish and bony fish species native to or naturalised in Europe before AD 1500 (a total of 1,220 species), have been assessed in this Red List. The geographic scope encompasses the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and/or the European part of the Atlantic Ocean (i.e., the territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of all European countries in the Eastern part of the Atlantic Ocean, including the EEZs of the Macaronesian islands belonging to Portugal and Spain). Status assessment | The status of all species was assessed using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria (IUCN 2012a), which are the world’s most widely accepted system for measuring extinction risk. All assessments followed the Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels (IUCN 2012b). These assessments were compiled based on the data and knowledge from a network of leading European and international experts on marine fish. The assessments were then completed and reviewed at three large workshops held in Spain, Belgium and the UK, as well as through email correspondence with relevant experts. More than 110 experts participated in the assessment and review process for European marine fishes. Assessments are available on the European Red List website and data portal: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ conservation/species/redlist and http://www.iucnredlist. org/initiatives/europe.
Results | Overall, 7.5% of the total of European marine fish species that were assessed in this study are considered threatened (i.e., assessed as having an elevated risk of extinction) in European waters. A further 2.6% (26 species) are considered Near Threatened. However, for 204 species (20.6%), there was insufficient scientific information available to be able to evaluate their risk of extinction and thus they were classified as Data Deficient (DD). When more data become available, some of these species might also prove to be threatened. By comparison, of those other groups that were assessed comprehensively in Europe, 59% of freshwater molluscs, 40% of freshwater fishes, 23% of amphibians, 20% of reptiles, 17% of mammals, 16% of dragonflies, 13% of birds, 9% of butterflies and bees, 8% of aquatic plants and 2% of medicinal plants are threatened (IUCN 2011a, Nieto et al. 2014, Allen et al. 2014, BirdLife International 2015). Additional European Red Lists assessing a selection of species showed that 22% of terrestrial molluscs, 16% of crop wild relatives and 15% of saproxylic beetles are also threatened (IUCN 2011a). No other groups have yet been assessed at the European level. Looking at the population trends of European marine fish species, 8.4% (83 species) have declining populations, 21.5% (212 species) are more or less stable and 1.7% (17 species) are increasing. The population trends for 676 species (68.4%) remain unknown. Eight of the 184 species (4.3%) that are endemic to Europe (i.e., they are found nowhere else in the world) are threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable), highlighting the responsibility that European countries have to protect the global populations of these species. Overall, the European areas with the highest diversity of species are the coast of Portugal, the Macaronesian islands and the western Mediterranean Sea. Hotspots of endemic species are found in the Mediterranean Sea, in particular along the European coast, including the Balearic, Ligurian, Tyrrhenian, Adriatic and Aegean Seas. Furthermore, the greatest concentrations of threatened species appear off the Iberian Peninsula, the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands. Finally, the highest number of Data Deficient (DD) species is present near the Macaronesian islands, particularly in the Madeiran and Canarian archipelagos. The main threats to European marine fishes are overfishing, coastal development, energy production and mining, and pollution.
• Use the European and national Red Lists of marine fishes to inform revisions and implementation of relevant European legislation (including the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive) to improve the status of threatened marine species, and to improve the knowledge of Data Deficient species.
• Continue, and where necessary, expand multi-national fisheries conservation initiatives and management of commercially shared stocks of exploited species, particularly in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
• Take immediate measures to (i) reduce target and incidental catches of species assessed as threatened (i.e., Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable), (ii) enact measures to ensure sustainable management of species threatened by exploitation, and (iii) set and enforce science-based fishing opportunities and multi-annual management plans for all commercial species, especially those fisheries that target or affect species assessed as threatened and Near Threatened based on exploitation.
• Ensure compliance with the requirements under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to apply the precautionary approach by harvesting species at levels to ensure Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) for all EU fisheries, especially those for highly migratory species.
• Ensure compliance with the requirements, under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to apply the ecosystem-based management of fisheries.
• Improve collection of fisheries-dependent data of commercial fisheries, in particular data on catch composition, by-catch, landings, discards, and catch per unit effort, and where not already in place, establish monitoring schemes for small scale artisanal and recreational (line and spear) fisheries.
• Require fully documented fisheries and proper mapping of fisheries and fishing effort deployed though control technologies such as Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), Vessel Detection System (VDS) and/ or Automatic Identification System (AIS).
• Expand fisheries-independent data collection monitoring, especially for Data Deficient species, and monitoring of threatened species that are not 6 currently sampled effectively, and ensure that such data are exchanged with relevant scientific bodies and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMO) (e.g., ICES, GFCM, NEAFC, ICCAT). Improve EU and RFMO requirements for speciesspecific reporting of catches and landings of all species, especially chondrichthyans, and for quality assurance of these data so that improved analyses of long-term trends can be undertaken.
• Carry out analyses of species trends in both the Northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. In particular in the Mediterranean Sea, although there is the ongoing MEDITS survey, there is an urgent need for the development of region-wide time-series analyses of these data.
• For those taxa with threatened species and taxonomic problems, improved species identification is required in all data collection exercises (including both commercial landings as well as scientific surveys). For that purpose, trainings of species identification to fishers should be provided, in particular for sharks, skates and rays species, with a view to ensuring that these species are not confused and that juveniles in particular can be distinguished.
• Ensure that all designated Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and areas restricted to fisheries, at the national, regional (Regional Seas Conventions) and European levels (Natura 2000 network) provide adequate protection to threatened marine fishes and particularly protect critical habitats for key life cycle stages (e.g., spawning, pupping, nursery and feeding grounds).
• Fully adopt and enforce fisheries management measures for designated MPAs with the view to alleviate pressure on marine fish species and on the habitats that are necessary for their conservation.
• Expand area-based conservation measures to meet and exceed the globally agreed-upon Aichi Target 11 of 10% coverage of each marine region, by identifying and establishing Fish Stock Recovery areas, as per the Common Fisheries Policy provisions, to protect spawning grounds and concentration of juvenile fish for those commercial fish species assessed as Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable and Near Threatened.
• Revise the list of threatened European marine fishes regularly, and whenever new data becomes available.
• Conduct basic biological research for deep-sea and Data Deficient species, especially those that are or have been commercially exploited (e.g., Orange Roughy, Hoplostethus atlanticus, and the wolf-fishes, Anarhichas spp.).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sharks are apex predators and keystone species that have a profound influence on the ecology and food-web dynamics of coral reefs and epipelagic marine ecosystems. However, sharks are being heavily overfished compromising the health of the world’s reefs and pelagic environments. Although Indonesia is the world’s largest and most diverse coral reef ecosystem, information on the exploitation of sharks in this region is scarce. Results of DNA barcoding of shark fin revealed two alarming findings: (1) a rarity of reef sharks that should dominate Indonesia’s coastal ecosystems, and (2) a fishery that targets endangered sharks. The diversity and number of threatened species recovered in this study highlights the urgent need for improved regulation and control of Indonesia’s shark fishery.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Fisheries Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Governments have committed to conserving ≥17% of terrestrial and ≥10% of marine environments globally, especially “areas of particular importance for biodiversity” through “ecologically representative” Protected Area (PA) systems or other “area-based conservation measures,” while individual countries have committed to conserve 3–50% of their land area. We estimate that PAs currently cover 14.6% of terrestrial and 2.8% of marine extent, but 59–68% of ecoregions, 77–78% of important sites for biodiversity, and 57% of 25,380 species have inadequate coverage. The existing 19.7 million km2 terrestrial PA network needs only 3.3 million km2 to be added to achieve 17% terrestrial coverage. However, it would require nearly doubling to achieve, cost-efficiently, coverage targets for all countries, ecoregions, important sites, and species. Poorer countries have the largest relative shortfalls. Such extensive and rapid expansion of formal PAs is unlikely to be achievable. Greater focus is therefore needed on alternative approaches, including community- and privately managed sites and other effective area-based conservation measures.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Conservation Letters
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Full text available as Open Access at: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3911.2.10. A new species of serranine fish is described from the Philippine Islands. A single specimen of a new species, Chelidoperca santosi, captured by fishermen working in Palawan waters was discovered in the public fish market in Iloilo City, Panay, Philippines. Two additional specimens of the new species, also from the Philippines, were subsequently discovered in the collections of the Museum Victoria, Australia. The new species is currently known only from the Philippines and is characterized by its distinctive coloration with a row of four small dark spots on the snout (two in front of each eye) and two dark spots on the chin (one on each side of the symphysis of the dentaries), a white anal fin with six large yellow spots
separated by broad white interspaces and a narrow yellow distal border, caudal fin with narrow yellow bars and a yellowish distal margin and no dark spots, and a combination of meristic and morphological characters.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fistularia tabacaria is widely distributed, common, and locally abundant where it occurs in a variety of shallow coastal habitats, especially over reefs and seagrass beds. Coral reef and seagrass habitats are threatened within its range, however the species is able to utilize other habitat types. Therefore, currently it is assessed as Least Concern.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 1. This paper explores how criteria to identify important marine mammal areas (IMMAs) could be developed, and nested in existing global criteria. This process would consider 134 species of marine mammals. 2. Particular attention is given to two suites of global criteria to identify areas important for the persistence of marine biodiversity: Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) developed through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) in revision through the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are seen as mutually complementary in the development of IMMAs. 3. The specificities necessary for identifying important areas at scales below the global level may vary according to the region, the biophysical requirements of distinct populations, and available data. Refining and testing the applicability of these global criteria on marine mammals at both regional and national scales will be necessary. 4. Combining area-based measures with non-spatial management actions will likely be the optimal approach for ensuring marine mammal persistence given their highly migratory nature and widespread life-history stages. 5. Capacity to enact IMMAs is strengthened by the existence of professional marine mammal associations and networks, and the recently formed IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force (MMPATF). The MMPATF is planning further development of IMMA criteria through joint work with the International Committee on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (ICMMPA).
Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Aquatic Conservation Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We assessed the taxonomic diversity, geographic distributions, life history, ecology and fisheries of tarpons, ladyfishes and bonefishes (members of the subdivision Elopomorpha), which share many life history and habitat use characteristics that make them vulnerable to environmental and anthropogenic stresses in coastal environments. This assessment of Red List status for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature reveals three species considered near threatened or vulnerable, three species of least concern, and 11 data-deficient species. Although the taxonomy of tarpons appears stable, it is less so for ladyfishes and bonefishes. In aggregate, these species are distributed circumtropically and foray into temperate zones. Although they spawn in marine habitats, larvae of many species disperse into estuarine habitats, which are declining in area or degrading in quality. Several species support high-value recreational fisheries, or culturally important small-scale commercial and artisanal fisheries. Nonetheless, no formal stock assessment exists for any species, so improved data collection, information sharing and assessment techniques should facilitate socio-economic development of individual fisheries. Catch-and-release recreational fisheries that promote conservation of tarpon and bonefishes in some regions are promising models to improve the conservation status of these fishes elsewhere, as well as the economic development of these fishing communities. Most tarpons, ladyfishes and bonefishes likely face significant challenges from anthropogenically mediated habitat loss and alteration, and several are vulnerable to both habitat degradation and overfishing. Broader protection and enhancements to fisheries habitat in all regions will benefit these as well as many other coastal fishery species.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Fish and Fisheries
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The IUCN, in collaboration with the Harte Research Institute (HRI), is conducting Red List Assessment workshops with panels of marine species experts to review and assess the conservation status of all marine vertebrates, selected plants and invertebrates of the Gulf. Results from these workshops will provide comprehensive data on the distribution, life history, habitat requirements, and other ancillary information to augment HRI’s BioGoMx database. The initiative will identify current knowledge gaps, help inform decision makers, enable development of more effective conservation priorities and programs. It will also support major recovery and restoration efforts funded via the RESTORE Act and other investments made in response to the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Developing spatial modeling capacity protocols with species distribution maps and creating an ‘Expert Directory’ will improve disaster preparedness and identify needs for species-specific conservation action in the face of immediate threats to marine biodiversity within the region.