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Research Article
Distribution and Reproductive Patterns of the Epinephelus Genus Groupers off Kenyan South Coast Marine Waters

Ogongo Bernard Ochieng, Mwachiro Eric Chenje and Fulanda Bernerd Mulwa

Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science, 2015, 10(3), 159-170.

Abstract

The Epinephelus genus grouper fishers (family: Serranidae) are among the most important sources of food and revenue to the local artisanal grouper fishers in Kenya. However, the fishery seems to be operating below maximum sustainable yield levels and their thorough distribution and reproductive patterns knowledge is required for development of management interventions to protect this important fishery. Their distribution and reproductive patterns was therefore investigated for a period of 8 months from December, 2013 to July, 2014 in the Kenyan south coast inshore marine waters of Vanga, Shimoni and Msambweni. Data was collected from these fishing grounds artisanal fishery landings and the species distribution and reproductive patterns validated through experimental underwater visual surveys, species abundance landings, diversity and maturity stages. A total of 30 species dominated by Epinephelus fasciatus landings were recorded with most showing narrow distribution patterns. Only E. fasciatus, E. malabaricus, E. longispinis, E. chlorostigma, E. coeruleopunctatus, E. multinotatus, E. merra, E. melanostigma, E. tukula, E. fuscoguttatus and E. tauvina had wider distributions. Eighteen had increased reproductive activity from April-July during southeast monsoon season suggesting the need for restricted fishing seasons. Further species habitat preference studies are also required to provide conservation and ecosystem protection information data.

ASCI-ID: 54-537

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