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Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping

Fisheries-List of toxic Fishes


Fisheries - List of Toxic Fishes
 
Contact person Mr. S. Khadun, Scientific Officer
Tel: +(230) 238 4100
Fax: +(230) 238 4184
E-mail: skhadun@mail.gov.mu
 
Bourgeois (Lutjanus sebae)

Yellow-tailed Croissant (croissant queue jaune)(Variola louti)
(Forsskål, 1775)
The yellow tailed croissant (Variola louti) shall not be deemed to be toxic fish where it is less than 3 kilogrammes when ungutted or less than 2.6 kilogrammes when gutted and has been fished on any oceanic bank*; and less than 1.5 kilogrammes when ungutted or less than 1.3 kilogrammes when gutted and has been fished in the territorial waters of Mauritius.
FAMILY: SERRANIDAE
COMMON NAMES:
  • En - Moontail seabass
  • Fr - Croissant queue jaune
NATIONAL:
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
Body depth contained 2.8 to 3.2 times in standard length. Preopercle finely serrate; sides of lower jaw with 1 or 2 large, fixed, curved, canine teeth; lower gillrakers 13 to 18. Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 13 to 15 soft rays; anal fin with 3 spines and 8 soft rays; pectoral rays 16 to 18; caudal fin crescentic, the upper and lower rays elongate. Pored lateral line scales 64 to 78; lateral scale series 113 to 135; body scales ctenoid (except ventrally) without auxiliary scales.
Colour: yellowish brown to orange-red; head, body and median fins with numerous small irregular spots of streaks of pale blue, lavender or pink; rear margins of median fins broadly yellow.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
Variola albimarginata: rear margin of caudal fin with a narrow white border, fins otherwise coloured like body.
Plectropomus species: caudal fin not crescentic; dorsal fin spines 8 (9 in V. louti).
SIZE:
Maxmum: 80 cm (fork length).
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
Widespread in the Western Indian Ocean north of Durban (South Africa), including the Red sea, but absent from the "Gulf". Extends to the western Pacific (southern Japan to the Great Barrier Reef).
A common coral-reef species.
PRESENT FISHING GROUNDS:
Coral reefs in depths of 5 to at least 100 m.
CATCHES, FISHING GEAR AND FORMS OF UTILIZATION:
Separate statistics are not reported for this species.
Caught with hook and line, in traps and gillnets.
Sold fresh in local markets, but banned in Mauritius where it is reported to cause ciguatera poisoning.
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51


Plectropomus maculatus
The sinsillac or vieille babonne (Plectropomus maculatus) shall not be deemed to be toxic fish where it is less than 3 kilogrammes when ungutted or less than 2.6 kilogrammes when gutted and has been fished on any oceanic bank*.
(* "Oceanic bank" means Saya de Malha bank, Nazareth bank, Sudan bank, Chagos and waters of St. Brandon.)
FAMILY: SERRANIDAE
COMMON NAMES:
Sinsillac
Vieille Babonne
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
Body depth contained 3.2 to 3.7 times in standard length. Preopercle rounded, the lower edge with 3 large spines directed downward and forward; opercular spines poorly developed; lower jaw with 1 to 3 large fixed teeth posteriorly on each side; posterior nostrils subequal to anterior nostrils; gillrakers at angle of first arch longer than gill filaments; 7 to 10 developed rakers on lower limb; no scales between eyes or on snout. Dorsal fin with 8 spines and 11 soft rays; anal fin with 3 spines and 8 soft rays; distal margin of fin straight to concave, forming a right angle with front margin when fin is erected; pectoral rays 15 to 17; caudal fin emarginate, the middle rays shortest.
Colour: brownish orange-red, with dark edged blue spots, those on head and front part of body larger and more elongate than the small round spots on rear part of body and median fins; pectoral fin rays dark brown, the membrane pale, with a few blue spots basally and a pale margin; pelvic fins orange with blue spots.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
Plectropomus truncatus: interorbital area scaly; developed gillrakers on lower limb of first arch 2 to 9 (7 to 10 in P. maculatus); raker at angle shorter than gill filaments.
P. leopardus: distal margin of anal fin convex, the fin broadly rounded; head, body and median fins covered with blue dots; 8 or more spots on cheek; pectoral base with 4 or more spots.
P. puncatus: developed gillrakers on lower limb of first arch 2 to 7. Adults (?) generally purplish brown, body with pale mottling.
P. laevis: posterior nostrils elongate, much longer than front nostrils; gillrakers at angle usually shorter than gill filaments; colour generally tan or yellowish with 4 dark, wedge-shaped saddle-like blotches on body.
SIZE : Maximum: 100 cm.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
Widespread in the Western Indian Ocean north of about 27oS, including the Red Sea but not the "Gulf". Also present in the Eastern Indian Ocean and the Western Central Pacific, extending eastward to southern Japan and Australia.
PRESENT FISHING GROUNDS:
Coral reef in depths of 13 to 160 m.
CATCHES, FISHING GEAR AND FORMS OF UTILIZATION:
Separate statistics are not reported for this species.
Caught with hook and line, spear, traps and gillnets.
Sold fresh in local markets.
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51

Carangue (All species family Carangidae)

Caranx sp.
The carangue shall not be deemed to be toxic fish where it has not been fished on any oceanic bank.


Epinephelus fuscogutatus
FAMILY: SERRANIDAE
COMMON NAMES:
  • En: - Brown-marbled grouper
  • Otter Wrasse
  • Fr: - Mérou marbré
  • Cr: - Vieille Loutre
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
Body depth contained 2.6 to 2.9 times in standard length. Dorsal head profile with an indentation above hind edge of eye; interorbital area flat; preopercle finely serrate, the serrae not enlarged at the angle; front nostril tiny, rear one oval or triangular with its greatest diameter (in fishes larger than 30 cm standard length) more than 4 times that of front nostril; lower gillrakers 18 to 21. Dorsal fin with 11 spines and 14 or 15 soft rays; anal fin with 3 spines and 8 soft rays; pectoral fin rays 18 to 20; caudal fin rounded. Pored lateral line scales 49 to 58; lateral scale series 102 to 116; scales on body cycloid on fishes larger than 10 cm standard length, mostly covered by skin on large adults.
Colour: generally brownish with many small dark spots on body and fins and large irregular dark blotches on head and body overlying the smaller dark spots; a brownish-blotch on top of caudal peduncle; jaws and chin with transverse pale bands.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
Epinephelus microdon: pectoral rays 16 to 17 (18 to 20 in E. fuscoguttatus); lower gillrakers 15 to 18 (18 to 21 in E. fuscoguttatus); dorsal head profile evenly convex (no identation above rear edge of eye).
E. multinotatus: dorsal fin membranes only slightly indented between the spines; caudal fin truncate; pored lateral line scales 67 to 77 (49 to 58 in E. fuscoguttatus); body with white blotches.
E. tauvina: body depth 3.1 to 3.5 times in standard length (2.6 to 2.9 times in E. fuscoguttatus); pored lateral line scales 67 to 74.
E. malabaricus: body depth 3.0 to 3.5 times in standard length; lower gillrakers 13 to 16; dorsal profile of head smoothly convex (no indentation above rear edge of eye).
SIZE : Maximum: 90 cm; 11 kg.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
Red Sea and tropical Western Indian Ocean (southward to Mozambique) but not recorded from the "Gulf". Also present in the Eastern Indian Ocean and the Western Central Pacific. Not known from Hawaii or French Polynesia, but does occur from southern Japan to Queensland (Australia).
PRESENT FISHING GROUNDS:
Coral reefs from the shore to at least 30 m depth.
CATCHES, FISHING GEAR AND FORMS OF UTILIZATION:
Separate statistics are not reported for this species.
Caught with hook and line, in traps and gillnets.
Marketed fresh.
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51

FAMILY: LUTJANIDAE
OTHER SCIENTIFIC NAMES STILL IN USE: Lutjanus coatesi Whitley, 1934
Lutjanus civis (Valenciennes, 1840)
COMMON NAMES:
Vara-vara
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
A heavy-bodied snapper with head profile slightly convex. A prominent notch in front of eye containing the nostrils; preopercular margin with a distinct, shallow notch and an interopercular knob; vertical and horizontal borders of preopercle finely denticulate; teeth on vomer (roof of mouth) in a triangular patch, without a posteriomedian extension. Dorsal fin with 10 spines (rarely 11) and 14 soft rays; anal fin with 3 spines and 8 soft rays; caudal fin slightly forked. Longitudinal rows of scales above lateral line appear to rise obliquely to dorsal profile and those below lateral run horizontally; 8 scale rows on preopercle, its lower border scaleless; predorsal scales (on top of head) beginning behind eyes; soft parts of dorsal and anal fins with a scaly sheath.
Colour: red or purplish red; juveniles and some adults with 2 distinct silvery spots on body between lateral line and dorsal profile; usually centre of each scale silvery.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
Other red-coloured Lutjanus species:
L. argentimaculatus: scale rows above lateral line running parallel to dorsal body profile anteriorly, but slanting upward posteriorly.
L. erythropterus and L. gibbus: scale rows above and below lateral line running obliquely upward; also, 11 dorsal fin spines in L. erythropterus (usually 10 in L. bohar); head profile concave and preopercular notch with interopercular knob very prominent in L. gibbus.
L. malabaricus (ex-L. sanguineus) and L. sebae: scale rows below lateral line running horizontally only in anterior part of body, slanting upwards posteriorly; 11 dorsal fin spines. Furthermore, L. sebae has a prominent preopercular notch with a well developed interopercular knob, 15 or 16 dorsal soft rays (14 in L. bohar); and middle rays of dorsal and anal fins prolonged; juveniles and small adults of this species have darker red bars.
L. coccineus: forehead steep and angular with a pronounced hump on forehead becoming prominent with age, 11 dorsal fin spines.
L. lemniscatus: head profile concave; colour pink or mauve; head with golden spots and short bars fading after death.
L. russelli: sometimes reddish brown, but a dark blotch on lateral line and golden stripes.
Pinjalo pinjalo: eye at midlevel of head, axis from tip of snout to middle of caudal fin passing through centre of pupil; caudal fin lunate; scale rows above and below lateral line running obliquely upward.
SIZE : Maximum: 75 cm; common to 50.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
Throughout the area north of 22oS. Elsewhere, in the Eastern Indian Ocean and the Western Central Pacific, eastward to Polynesia.
Usually inhabits coral reef areas in shallow waters, but occasionally occurs down to depths of 70 m in rocky areas.
Feeds on crustaceans and fishes; large specimens feed predominantly on fishes.
PRESENT FISHING GROUNDS:
Shallow coral reef areas; also caught at depths to 70 m.
CATCHES, FISHING GEAR AND FORMS OF UTILIZATION:
Separate statistics are not reported for this species.
Caught mainly with handlines and bottom longlines.
Marketed mostly fresh; also dried salted.
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51

Giblot(Lutjanus monostigmus)
(Cuvier, 1828)
FAMILY: LUTJANIDAE
OTHER SCIENTIFIC NAMES STILL IN USE: None
COMMON NAMES:
  • FAO: En - One-spot snapper
  • Fr - Vivaneau églefin
  • Cr - Giblot
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
A large-sized, moderately elongate snapper with an indistinct notch on rear edge of preopercle. Vomerine teeth in a narrow /\-shaped patch without median posterior projection; preorbital space (between eye and maxilla) relatively broad, 5 to 6 times in head length, about equal to width of fleshy interorbital space. Dorsal fin with 10 spines and 13 soft rays; anal fin with 3 spines and 8 soft rays; caudal fin truncate to emarginate. Lateral line scales 47 to 50; longitudinal scale rows ascending obliquely above lateral line and running horizontally below it; predorsal scales (on top of head) beginning well behind eyes; preopercle with 5 or 6 scale rows, the lower border scaleless.
Colour: overall yellowish to pinkish-white with dusky scale margins, grey or brown on upper back and dorsal portion of head; a black spot (sometimes faint or absent) on back below junction of spinous and soft portions of dorsal fin; lateral line running through middle or lower half of spot; fins yellow.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
L. fulviflammus: vomerine teeth in a triangular patch with a long median posterior projection; a series of golden yellow horizontal stripes on body; preorbital space much less than fleshy interorbital space; usually does not exceed 35 cm total length.
L. ehrenbergi and L. johni: longitudinal scale rows above lateral line horizontal, not ascending obliquely. Furthermore, preorbital space narrow, 8.5 to 10.3 times in head length in L. ehrenbergi (5 or 6 times in L. monostigmus); dark streaks on body and dark blotch placed mainly above lateral line in L. johni; L. ehrenbergi usually does not exceed 30 cm total length.
L. russelli: vomerine teeth in a triangular patch with a median posterior projection; usually a wide gap dorsally between temporal scales of each side (little or no gap in L. monostigmus); lateral line running through middle or upper half of black spot; frequently 5 or 6 oblique brown stripes on sides; usually does not exceed 40 cm total length.
L. duodecemlineatus, L. kasmira and L. coeruleolineatus: ground colour, also pale yellow with a dark blotch on head, but with blue stripes on body; predorsal scales beginning on a line between middle of eyes.
Other species of Lutjanus: no black blotch on body or ground colour different.
SIZE:
Maximum: 60 cm; common to 50 cm.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
Within the area, reported from the east African coast between 18oS and 10oN, Madagascar, the Comores, the Seychelles, Réunion, Mauritius, Chagos Archipelago, Maldives, Laccadives and coasts of southern India and Sri Lanka. Elsewhere, in the Eastern Indian Ocean and the Western Central Pacific as far as the Society and Tuamotu Islands.
Inhabits coral reefs to depths of about 40 m. Usually found solitarily or in small groups.
Feeds mainly on fishes and crustaceans.
PRESENT FISHING GROUNDS:
Coral reefs throughout its range.
CATCHES, FISHING GEAR AND FORMS OF UTILIZATION:
Separate statistics are not reported for this species.
Caught mainly with handlines, traps and gillnets.
Marketed mostly fresh.
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51

FAMILY: SERRANIDAE
COMMON NAME:
  • En. - Wrasse
  • Cr. - Vielle cuisinier
  • Crabe noir
  • Brisant
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
Body depth 2.7 to 3.2 times in standard length, distinctly less than head length. Maxilla reaches well past eye; preopercle rounded, its ventral edge fleshy. Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 15 to 17 soft rays; anal fin with 3 spines and 9 soft rays; pectoral rays 16 to 18; pectoral fins 1.5 to 2.0 times in head length; caudal fin rounded. Auxiliary scales present on body; pored lateral line scales 46 to 51; lateral scale series 95 to 110.
Colour: head, body and fins dark brown, covered with small, black-edged blue spots; 5 or 6 broad pale vertical bars often present on rear half of body; a narrow white margin along rear edge of pectoral and median fins.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
Cephalopholis miniata: body reddish, with small blue spots not extending onto underside of lower jaw; pectoral fins longer, 1.5 to 1.7 times in head (1.5 to 2.0 times in C. argus); dorsal fin soft rays 14 or 15 (15 to 17 in C. argus).
C. hemistiktos: no blue spots on dorsal half of body; pectoral fins longer, 1.4 to 1.6 times in head; dorsal fin soft rays 14 or 15.
C. oligosticta: colour orange-red in life, with a few scattered pale blue spots on head, body and fins; pectoral fins longer, 1.4 to 1.6 times in head; dorsal fin soft rays 15; lower edge of preopercle bony.
SIZE : Maximum: 50 cm.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
The most common and widespread species of the genus, extending from the Red Sea and Western Indian Ocean (south to Durban) to the Central pacific as far as the Pitcairn Islands. Introduced to the Hawaiian Islands.
A shallow-water species generally found on coral reefs to depths of 20 m.
PRESENT FISHING GROUNDS:
Red Sea, but no special fishery.
CATCHES, FISHING GEAR AND FORMS OF UTILIZATION:
Separate statistics are not reported for this species.
Caught with seines, lift nets and in shallow water trawls.
Marketed fresh and dried salted.
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51

Cheval de Bois(Anyperodon leucogrammicus)
(Valenciennes, 1828)
FAMILY: SERRANIDAE
COMMON NAME:
Cheval de bois
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
Head and body compressed; body depth 3.2 to 3.5 times in standard length. Head length distinctly greater than body depth; preopercle rounded; lower serrae not much enlarged; no teeth on palatine bones (on each side of roof of mouth); 2 rows of small teeth at sides of lower jaw. Dorsal fin with 11 spines and 14 to 16 soft rays; anal fin with 3 spines and 8 or 9 soft rays; pectoral rays 15 to 17; caudal fin rounded. Pored lateral line scales 63 to 71; lateral scales series 110 to 125.
Colour: head and body greenish grey, with numerous small orange-red spots extending onto dorsal fin and base of caudal fin; 2 or 3 horizontal bluish-white streaks often present on body. Juveniles with alternating blue and red stripes and 1 or 2 black spots at base of caudal fin.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
Epinephelus species: palatine bones with teeth; body less compressed.
SIZE: Maximum: 52 cm.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
Throughout the tropical Indo-West Pacific; in the Western Indian Ocean it is known to occur along the East African coast from the Red Sea south to Mozambique, and around the Seychelles, Reunion and Chagos Archipelago.
Fairly common on coral reefs in less than 20 m depth.
PRESENT FISHING GROUNDS:
Coral reefs in depths of 5 to 30 m.
CATCHES, FISHING GEAR AND FORMS OF UTILIZATION:
Separate statistics are not reported for this species.
Caught with hook and line, traps and gillnets.
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51.

Chemise(Lutjanus gibbus)
FAMILY: LUTJANIDAE
COMMON NAME:
Chemise
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
A small, deep-bodied snapper. Profile of head concave in adults; preopercular notch deep and narrow, with a long interopercular knob fitting into it; vertical and horizontal edges of preopercle denticulate. Dorsal fin with 10 spines and 13 to 15 soft rays; anal fin with 3 spines and 8 or 9 rays; caudal fin becoming deeply forked with age, its upper lobe larger than lower lobe in adults, and distinctly rounded. Longitudinal rows of scales above lateral line appear to rise obliquely upward to dorsal profile; rows below also apparently running obliquely upward; scales on head beginning behind eye; soft parts of dorsal and anal fins with a scaly sheath.
Colour: deep red; juveniles with posterior part of caudal peduncle and caudal fin dark brown.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
Lutjanus erythropterus: 11 dorsal fin spines (10 in L. gibbus); profile of head convex; preopercular notch shallow.
Other red-coloured Lutjanus species: longitudinal scale rows below lateral line horizontal, at least on anterior part of body. Furthermore, 11 dorsal fin spines in L. coccineus, L. malabaricus and L. sebae; snout profile straight or convex in all except L. malabaricus, a distinct hump above eyes in adults of L. coccineus and middle dorsal and anal soft rays elongate in L. sebae.
Pinjalo pinjalo: eye at mid-level of head, axis from tip of snout to middle of caudal fin passing through centre of pupil; caudal fin lunate.
SIZE : Maximum: 50 cm; common to 40 cm.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
Throughout the area north of about 22oS. Elsewhere, in the Eastern Indian Ocean and the Western Central Pacific, eastward to Polynesia.
Inhabits shallow waters in rocky and coral reef areas; also on rock bottoms to depths of 60 m; juveniles occur in mangrove areas.
Feeds on bottom-living invertebrates and fishes.
PRESENT FISHING GROUNDS:
Coastal waters, throughout its range.
CATCHES, FISHING GEAR AND FORMS OF UTILIZATION:
Separate statistics are not reported for this species.
Caught mainly with handlines and traps.
Marketed mostly fresh.
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51.


Harengula ovalis
FAMILY: CLUPEIDAE
OTHER SCIENTIFIC NAMES STILL IN USE:
  • Harengula punctata auct
  • Herklotsichthys ovalis (Rüppell, 1837)
  • Harengula ovalis (Fowler, 1941)
COMMON NAMES:
  • Large tartara
  • Grosse sardine
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
Body fusiform, moderately slender; belly with a distinct keel of scutes. Top of head with only a few fronto-parletal striae; lower portion of paddle-shaped 2nd supramaxilla longer than upper; gill opening with two fleshy outgrowths; prominent ridges of teeth on roof of mouth (palatines and pterygoids). Pre-dorsal scales forming a single median series.
Colour: back blue/green with small scattered dark spots, flanks silvery; no dark blotch on dorsal fin.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
Herklotsichthys quadrimaculatus: no small dark spots along back; in fresh specimens, an electric blue line down flank and two orange spots behind gill opening; also, broad, wing-like scales almost hidden beneath the overlapping pre-dorsal scales.
Herklotsichthys lossei: no small dark spots along back, but a prominent dark blotch on dorsal fin and a row of dark spots along flanks; also, confined to the "Gulf" and the Gulf of Aden.
Herklotsichthys spilura: no small dark spots along back or flanks; also, confined to Zanzibar, Reunion Island, and perhaps Mauritius and Madagascar.
Sardinella species: more fronto-parietal striae on top of head and paddle-shaped 2nd supramaxilla symmetrical.
Other species of Clupeidae: gill opening smoothly rounded, without two fleshy outgrowths.
SIZE: Maximum: 8.5 cm; common to 7 cm.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
Red Sea (previously confused with the very widespread
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51.


Epinephelus areolatus
FAMILY: SERRANIDAE
COMMON NAMES:
  • Flat wrasse
  • Bambara
  • Vieille plat
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
Body depth 3.0 to 3.3 times in standard length. Eye diameter 4.1 to 5.5 times in head length. Preopercle serrate, with 3 to 7 large serrae at the angle; lower gillrakers 14 to 16. Dorsal fin with 11 spines and 15 to 17 soft rays; anal fin with 3 spines and 8 soft rays; dorsal fin membrane distinctly incised between the spines; anal fin rounded to slightly angular; pectoral fin rays 17 or 18; caudal fin margin truncate to slightly concave. Pored lateral line scales 50 to 56; lateral scale series 97 to 115. Pyloric caeca 11 to 17.
Colour: head, body and fins pale, covered with numerous dark brown spots; about 8 to 14 dark spots from last dorsal spine to anus; spots relatively smaller and more numerous with growth. Caudal fin with a narrow pale margin. Pectoral fins covered with dark spots or bands.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
Epinephelus chlorostigma: dark spots on body smaller, about 25 to 30 from last dorsal spine to anus; anal fin angular to pointed in large specimens; pyloric caeca 26 to 30 (11 to 17 in E. areolatus).
E. multinotatus: rear edge of caudal fin slightly convex; dorsal fin membrane not incised between the spines; white spots usually present on body; dark spots usually not discernible on dorsal half of body; pored lateral line scales 67 to 77 (60 to 56 in E. areolatus).
Other Epinephelus species: caudal fin rounded, or colour pattern not like that of E. areolatus.
SIZE: Maximum: 35 cm
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
Widely distributed in the Western Indian Ocean including the Red Sea and the "Gulf", but apparently not recorded from Madagascar or Mauritius. Also found in the Eastern Indian Ocean and the Western Central Pacific, eastward to Melanesia, southern Japan and Australia.
Usually found on small rocky outcrops or coral heads in silty sand areas or seagrass beds.
PRESENT FISHING GROUNDS:
Coastal waters throughout its range.
CATCHES, FISHING GEAR AND FORMS OF UTILIZATION:
Separate statistics are not reported for this species.
Caught with hook and line, gillnets and in traps.
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51.


Carpilius maculatus


Tridacna spp.

 
Echinotrix sp

Caret or Hawksbill Turtle(Eretmochelys imbricata bissa )
(Rüppell, 1835)

Eretmochelys imbricata
FAMILY: CHELONIDAE
OTHER SCIENTIFIC NAMES STILL IN USE: None
COMMON NAMES:
  • FAO: En - Pacific hawksbill turtle
  • Fr - Tortue caret du Pacifique
  • Cr - Tortue caret
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
Carapace oval, depressed, its width about 75% of the length. Head medium-sized (about 27% of carapace length), with 2 pairs of prefrontal scutes and a strong horny beak. Scutes on shell imbricated (overlapping) in all but very old specimens where they are juxtaposed; 4 pairs of lateral scutes on carapace, anterior pair not touching the pre-central scute; 4 pairs of inframarginal scutes on plastron; 2 claws on each flipper.
Colour: upper side dark brown, with yellow and reddish streaks on scutes; underside pale yellow.
Eggs: white, spherical, 3.5 to 4 cm in diameter and 28 g in weight.
Hatchlings: length of carapace about 4.5 cm; on both sides colour dark brown.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
No other adult sea turtle from this area has imbricated scutes on carapace or plastron; the only other species with 4 lateral scutes on the carapace is Chelonia mydas, but the carapace is much broader, the flippers bear a single claw and the lower jaw is roughly toothed (longer and smooth in E. imbricata).
SIZE:
  • Carapace length (straight-line distance): maximum to 100 cm; common to 80 cm.
  • Weight: maximum to 100 kg; common to 60 kg.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
Found practically throughout the area, especially around off-lying islands, but its occurrence is rather spotty; it is more abundant on the western coast of the area.
Inhabits coastal waters, including shallow vegetated bottoms as well as bays and lagoons with muddy and coralline bottoms lacking extensive beds of submarine vegetation. Nesting is reported from Oman, South Yemen, Sudan, Iran, Maldives, Chagos, Seychelles, Aldabra and Madagascar. Mating is documented to take place from July to August and oviposition from September to February; the incubation period ranges from 45 to 60 days.
The hawksbill turtle is an omnivorous species; its diet includes jellyfish, sponges, sea urchins, crustaceans, molluscs, seaweeds and seagrass.
PRESENT FISHING GROUNDS:
Traditional fishing grounds are located around coral islands or along rocky coasts; presently caught mainly off Madagascar, Somalia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and on the Maldives, Comoros, Mauritius and Chagos Islands.
CATCHES, FISHING GEAR AND FORMS OF UTILIZATION:
Separate statistics are not reported for this species, but the total annual catch estimated for the area exceeds 600 t of live turtles and exports of more than 20 t of tortoise shell are reported.
At sea it is mainly caught with tangle nets, seines and harpoons; also by scuba-diving, remora-fishing and trawling.
Marketed fresh in some countries; the meat as well as the eggs are good eating, although in many places the former is not particularly fancied and is reported to be sporadically poisonous (probably as a result of the turtle?s diet). The most important product obtained from this species is the tortoise-shell or carey which is widely used in artisanal work and raw material is exported principally to Japan. Complete protection measures for this species are highly desirable.
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51


Synanceja verrucosa


Diodon hystrix

 
Remora remora
FAMILY: ECHENEIDAE
DESCRIPTION:
Perciform fishes with a transversely laminated, oval-shaped cephalic disc, this structure homologous with spinous dorsal fin; skull wide, depressed to support disc; body fusiform, elongate. Opercle without spines, premaxillae not protractile, gill membranes free from isthmus. Jaws broad, the lower projecting beyond the upper; villiform teeth present in jaws and vomer (centrally on roof of mouth), usually on tongue and in certain species on palatines (laterally on roof of mouth). Dorsal and anal fins long, lacking spines, dorsal rays range from 18 to 45, anal rays from 18 to 41; pectoral fins set high on body, pointed or rounded, with 18 to 32 rays; pelvic fins far forward, close together, narrowly or broadly attached to underside of body, with 1 spine and 5 soft rays; caudal fin slightly forked, emarginate, or slightly rounded (in large specimens of some species), juveniles of some species with an elongate median caudal filament. Scales small, cycloid (smooth), usually embedded in the skin. No swimbladder.
Colour: in life colours subdued, pale brown, greyish to black, sometimes light to whitish or with light and dark horizontal stripes on trunk.
The Echeneidae is divisible into two subfamilies, four genera, and eight species, seven of which occur in the Western Indian Ocean. The remoras attach themselves to many different marine vertebrates including sharks, rays, tarpons, barracudas, sailfishes, marlines, swordfishes, jacks, basses, groupers, ocean sunfish, sea turtles, whales, and dolphins; they may also attach to ships and various floating objects. Some remoras have a great preference of specificity toward certain hosts. Remora australis, the whalesucker, is only known from marine mammals. Remora osteochir, the marlinsucker, is almost always found attached to spearfishes, particularly the sailfish and white marlin. The preferred host of Remorina albescens, the white sucker, is the manta ray. Species of the genus Echeneis are often free-swimming and occur in shallow, inshore waters. Remora and Remorina are almost always captured on their host where they may be found attached to the body, in the mouth, or in the gill cavity. Although remoras are not considered to be of any commercial importance, at least Echeneis naucrates is taken in coastal fisheries along with other species and sold in local markets.
SIMILAR FAMILIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
No other family of fishes has a cephalic sucking disc. The cobia family (Family Rachycentridae) bears some resemblance to the remoras. It has been postulated that a cobia-like ancestor may have given rise to the echeneid fishes.
KEY TO GENERA OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
1 a. Body very elongate, the depth contained 8 to 14 times in standard length; pectoral fins pointed; usually a dark longitudinal band on sides, bordered with white; anal fin base long, anal rays 29 to 41; caudal fin lanceolate in young, the middle rays filamentous, almost truncate in adults, the lobes pronounced (subfamily Echeneinae).
2 a. Sucking disc with 18 to 28 laminae; vertebrae 30 - Echeneis
2 b. Sucking disc with 9 to 11 laminae; vertebrae 39 to 41 - Phtheirichthys
1 b. Body not elongate, the depth contained 5 to 8 times in standard length; pectoral fins rounded; colour nearly uniform, without bands; anal fin base short, anal rays 18 to 28; caudal fin forked in young becoming emarginate or truncate in adults (subfamily Remorinae).
3 a. Pelvic fins broadly attached to abdomen; disc laminae 15 to 19; vertebrae 27; colour light to dark brown; hosts include sharks, billfishes or cetaceans, depending on species - Remora
3 b. Pelvic fins narrowly attached to abdomen; disc laminae 13 or 14; vertebrae 26; colour whitish; usual host, manta rays - Remorina
LIST OF SPECIES OCCURRING IN MARINE WATERS OF THE AREA:*
Code numbers are given for those species for which Identification Sheets are included
  • Echeneis naucrates Linnaeus, 1758 ECHEN Echen 1
  • Phtheirichthys lineatus (Menzies, 1791)
  • Remora australis (Bennett, 1840)
  • Remora brachyptera (Lowe, 1839)
  • Remora osteochir (Cuvier, 1829)
  • Remora remora (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Remorina albescens (Temminck & Schlegel, 1845)
* The only remora species not occurring in this area is Echeneis naucratoides Zuieuw, which is confined to the W. Atlantic Ocean.


Lactoria cornuta


Sphyraena barracuda
FAMILY: SPHYRAENIDAE
OTHER SCIENTIFIC NAMES STILL IN USE: Sphyraena picuda (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
COMMON NAMES:
  • FAO: En - Great barracuda
  • Fr - Barracuda
  • Cr - Barracuda, Tazar lichien
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
Body elongate and slightly compressed. Head large, with a long, pointed snout; mouth large, maxilla (upper jaw) reaching to a little beyond anterior margin of eye, lower jaw projecting; strong, pointed, contiguous, vertical flattened teeth of unequal size in each jaw and similar teeth on roof of mouth (palatines). No gillrakers on first arch; upper and lower gill arch platelets rough, but without distinct spines. Origin of first (spinous) dorsal fin slightly behind pelvic fin origin; anterior dorsal and anal fin rays reaching beyond tips of posterior rays when fin depressed; pectoral fin tip reaching beyond pelvic fin base. Scales rather large, less than 100, usually 80 to 90 in lateral line.
Colour: deep green to steel grey above, sometimes with a purplish tinge, sides mostly silvery, becoming abruptly white on ventral surface. Small individuals with 18 to 22 oblique dark bars on back (faint to absent in adults; adults usually with several to many scattered inky blotches on hind part of body below lateral line. Second dorsal, anal and caudal fins violet to blackish with whitish tips.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURRING IN THE AREA:
Sphyraena obtusata, S. flavicauda: 2 gillrakers on first arch and no bars on body; also, inside of mouth bright yellow/orange in S. obtusata.
S. acutipinnis and S.novaehollandiae: 1 gillraker on first arch, no bars on body and more than 124 lateral line scales; also, first dorsal fin origin opposite pelvic fin base in S. obtusata.
S. forsteri: also without gillrakers, but distinct spines on lower gill arch platelets.
Other Sphyraena species: also without gillrakers on first arch, but no inky spots below lateral line on posterior part of body and more than 100 lateral line scales.
SIZE:
Maximum: 180 cm; common to 140 cm.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
Probably throughout the area, but previous identifications not necessarily reliable. Elsewhere, found in the Eastern Indian Ocean, Western Pacific and Eastern and Western Atlantic.
Found predominantly at or near the surface, but has been taken as deep as 100 m. Diurnal and solitary, but can be found in small schools, the adults in the open sea or around reefs, the juveniles sometimes common in mangrove swamps and estuaries.
Feeds on moderate or quite large fishes, either around reefs or near the surface, the juveniles sometimes common in mangrove swamps and estuaries.
Feeds on moderate or quite large fishes, either around reefs or near the surface, the juveniles taking small fishes (anchovies, etc.). A voracious feeder, known to attack swimmers. Nearly all attacks a result of provocation (as by spearing) or mistaken identity in musky water (a human limb might appear to the barracuda as a fish).
PRESENT FISHING GROUNDS:
No specific fishery in the area.
CATCHES, FISHING GEAR AND FORMS OF UTILIZATION:
Separate statistics are not reported for this species.
Caught mainly by trolling lines by both artisanal and sport fishermen, but also sometimes taken in nets.
Marketed fresh, frozen or dried salted. Flesh good, but cases of poisoning (ciguatera) reported in the tropical Western Atlantic and Pacific.
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51

Bourgeois or Vivaneau bourgeois or Emperor Red Snapper
(Lutjanus sebae) (Cuvier, 1828)
Lutjanus sebae
FAMILY: LUTJANIDAE
COMMON NAMES:
  • Emperor red snapper
  • Bourgeois
  • Vivaneau bourgeois
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS:
A deep-bodied snapper, with head profile straight or convex: preopercular notch distinct and deep; interopercular knob marked, increasing with age until it becomes a short spike in large adults; vertical and horizontal edges of preopercule finely serrated. Dorsal fin with 11 spines and 15 or 16 soft rays; anal fin with 3 spines and 10 or 11 soft rays; soft parts of dorsal and anal fins pointed. Longitudinal scale rows above lateral line appear to rise obliquely to dorsal profile, those below more or less horizontal interiorly but appearing to rise obliquely posteriorly; scales and head beginning behind eye; soft part of anal and dorsal fins with scaly sheath.
Colour: deep red in large adults; juveniles and smaller adults pink with dark red band from first dorsal spine through eye to tip of snout; a second dark band from middle of spinous part of dorsal fin to pelvic fin; and a third band running from base of last dorsal fin spines obliquely downward across caudal peduncle and along lower rays of caudal fin; margin of soft part of dorsal, upper margin of caudal, and anterior rays of anal fin, dark.
DISTINCTIVE CHARACTERS OF SIMILAR SPECIES OCCURING IN THE AREA:
Lutjanus malabaricus: no distinct preopercular notch or interopercular knob; dorsal fin rays 14 (15 or 16 in L. sebae); and fin rays 8 or 9 (10 or 11 in L. sebae).
L. erythropterusand L. gubbus: scale rows above and below lateral line running obliquely upward; only 8 or 9 anal fin rays (10 or 11 in L. sebae). Furthermore, only 10 dorsal fin spines and 14 soft rays in L. malabaricus (11 spines and 15 or 16 soft rays in L. sebae).
Other red-colour Lutjanus sp.: scales row below lateral line horizontal throughout their length; fewer dorsal and anal fin rays. Furthermore, a distinct hump above eyes in L. coccineus and only 10 dorsal fin spines in L. bohar, L. argentimaculatus, L. lemniscatus and L. Russeli.
Pinjalo pinjalo: eye at mid-level of head, axis from tip of snout to middle of caudal fin passing through centre of pupil; caudal fin lunate; scale rows above and below lateral line running obliquely upward.
SIZE:
Maximum: over 100cm; common to 60 cm.
GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND BEHAVIOUR:
Throughout most of the area North of about 220S.
Juvenile inhabit shallow mangrove and seagrass areas; adults are found down to depths of 100 m.
Feeds on crustaceans and bottom-living fishes.
PRESENT FISHING GROUND:
Coastal waters, throughout its range.
CATCHES, FISHING GEAR AND FORMS OF UTILIZATION:
Caught mainly with handlines and bottom trawls.
Marketed mostly fresh in countries where the fish is not considered toxic.
Source: FAO Species Identification Sheets For Fishery Purposes, Western Indian Ocean, Fishing Area 51

Note:No person shall expose, sell or offer for sale the species of fish specified unless the fish is exposed, sold or offered for sale in whole either gutted or ungutted.
 
 

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