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Reproductive pattern of an exploited dusky grouper Epinephelus marginatus (Lowe 1834) (Pisces: Serranidae) population in the western Mediterranean
Olga Reñones, Amalia Grau, Xavier Mas, Francesc Riera and Fran Saborido-Rey

The reproductive parameters of the dusky grouper, Epinephelus marginatus, in the Balearic Islands (western Mediterranean) were studied with a histological analysis of specimens caught by artisanal and recreational spear fisheries. The histological examination of the gonads showed that the dusky grouper spawning season extends from late spring to the end of summer with clear spawning peaks in July and August. The monthly variation of the hepatosomatic index (HSI) and the Le Cren condition index suggests that reserves for gonad development were obtained from the energy stored in the liver before spawning. Females reach maturation at 49 cm total length (TL) and 6 years, and transitional individuals start to occur before all females are matured. Males were the largest and oldest specimens but females were also present in the largest and oldest classes and there was a large sex, size and age overlap in the population. The fecundity data showed that the dusky grouper is a determinate spawner with asynchronous oocyte development. Potential fecundity ranged between 65 thousand and 8 million oocytes in females from 39 to 92 cm TL and from 6 to 42 years of age, with a mean relative fecundity of 334 x 103 oocytes kg-1. Females spawn an average of 10 batches during the spawning season, with a relative batch fecundity of 75 x 103 oocytes kg-1. Fecundity increased significantly with length, weight, age and HSI, while relative fecundity was only related to HSI. Based on the results obtained in the present study (long reproductive lifespan of females, influence of maternal attributes on fecundity and size at maturity) management measures for the species were evaluated.

Keywords: Epinephelus marginatus, maturity, sex change, spawning, fecundity, Mediterranean
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 74(3) : 523-537 Back PDF
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