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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 45:283-300 (2021)  -  DOI:

Goliath grouper Epinephelus itajara oral history, use, and conservation status in the Mexican Caribbean and Campeche Bank

Arturo Bravo-Calderon1,2, Andrea Saenz-Arroyo2,3,*, Stuart Fulton1, Alejandro Espinoza-Tenorio2, Eloy Sosa-Cordero2

1Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C. Calle del Peruano, Lomas de Miramar, Guaymas, 85448 Sonora, Mexico
2El Colegio de la Frontera Sur. Periferico Sur, Maria Auxiliadora, San Cristobal de Las Casas, 29290 Chiapas, Mexico
3Centro de Ciencias de la Complejidad (C3), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito, Mario de La Cueva 20, Insurgentes Cuicuilco, Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, Mexico
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The Atlantic goliath grouper Epinephelus itajara is highly vulnerable to overfishing, yet little is known of its population status in Campeche Bank (southern Gulf of Mexico) and the Mexican Caribbean. By reviewing landings records, historical literature, and the local ecological knowledge of fishers, we documented historical practices, uses, and changes in the abundance and distribution of the goliath grouper in these regions. In both the Mexican Caribbean and Campeche Bank, goliath grouper populations were notably impacted by commercial fishing activities in the 1970s and 1980s. The catches during this period could only be sustained for a few years, after which the fishery collapsed. Our results from Campeche Bank indicate that populations persist in an area currently occupied by oil platforms. In the Mexican Caribbean, the extirpation of the goliath grouper may be close at hand, with local exceptions like that of Chetumal Bay. The results of our study indicate that the local goliath grouper populations are in critical danger of extinction, which must be taken into account during the next IUCN Red List regional assessment. In addition, the goliath grouper should be included in the Mexican list for endangered species (NOM-059-SEMARNAT).

KEY WORDS: Endangered species · Historical ecology · Home range · Local ecological knowledge

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Cite this article as: Bravo-Calderon A, Saenz-Arroyo A, Fulton S, Espinoza-Tenorio A, Sosa-Cordero E (2021) Goliath grouper Epinephelus itajara oral history, use, and conservation status in the Mexican Caribbean and Campeche Bank. Endang Species Res 45:283-300.

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