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Shedding Light on the Dusky Grouper

by Ellen Hardy
16 September 2008, at 1:00am

BRAZIL - A new study has been launched off the Brazilian coast which aims to gain greater understanding of the little-known dusky grouper.

Dusky grouper (garoupa, Epinephelus marginatus) is an important catch for several artisanal small-scale fisheries along the Brazilian coast, reports 7th Space. It is a sedentary, monandric, and late maturing protogynous species, which makes it vulnerable to overharvesting even though it is mainly caught through hook and line or spear fishing through free diving.

The study abstract was published online at Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2008, 4:20. According to the authors of the study, Alpina Begossi and Renato A.M. Silvano, lack of information on the ecology and biology of this species in Brazil is astonishing. Much of the information found in the literature concerns Mediterranean dusky groupers.

Studies compiling local knowledge (ethnoecology) about fish species complement biological data, and have been fundamental for effective fisheries management.

The objectives of this new study are to obtain data about dusky grouper through fish catches and analysis of stomach contents and gonad maturation (macroscopic analyses), along with interviews from fishermen from six small-scales communities from the southern (Pantano do Sul, Florianopolis, Santa Catarina State) to the northern Brazilian coast (Porto Sauipe, Bahia State).

Researchers of the study concluded that precautionary approaches and 'data-less' management approaches are needed in the coast of Brazil. Research on this species and on the potentialof aquaculture for its cultivation, are urgent, due to the apparent vulnerability and decrease of dusky grouper along the coast of Brazil.

Ellen Hardy