SSC Groups

Snapper, Seabream and Grunt

Snapper, Seabream , Grunt, SSC

IUCN SSC Snapper, Seabream & Grunt Specialist Group Co-Chairs:
Barry Russell and Ken Lindeman

IUCN SSC Red List Authority Coordinator: Barry Russell

The IUCN SSC Snapper, Seabream, and Grunt Specialist Group (SSG SG) works to globally advance research and conservation of over 540 diverse reef and estuarine species in six families of marine fishes, more information on these families is below the slides.

Key features of SSG SG fishes include:

  • They can inhabit nearly every estuarine and marine habitat in shallow tropical through temperate areas of the globe. 
  • The SG includes some of the most iconic fisheries on the planet: many species are sold as “red snapper” and hundreds are regional bread-basket food species.  
  • Data is often very limited, yet evidence suggests that many species are subject to heavy fishing pressure, habitat loss, and climate change effects.
  • As of March 2019, approx 78% of the SSG SG species have been assessed and published on the IUCN Red List.
  • The taxonomy of some lineages is still unresolved, the March 2020 list of species by family for all six SSG SG families is available on the SSG species list.
  • Conservation planning and actions have focused in part on protecting the spawning aggregations of heavily fished species, as well as juvenile nursery habitats. 

The families in the SSG SG are basal/intermediate percoids and involve many unresolved challenges in taxonomy and systematics.  Based on recent phylogenetic research, the estimated number of species in the six families are as follows:

Family   No. species No. Red Listed % Red Listed
Seabreams and Porgies (Sparidae) Yellowback Seabream, Dentex hyselosomus Bleeker, 1854, Japan 166 134 80.7
Grunts and Sweetlips (Haemulidae) Black Margate, Anisotremus surinamensis - (Bloch, 1791). W. Atlantic 136 99 72.8
Snappers (Lutjanidae) Yellowfin Red Snapper,Lutjanus guilcheri Fourmanoir, 1959. Indian Ocean 114 104 91.2
Threadfin Breams (Nemipteridae) Yellowbelly Threadfin Bream, Nemipterus bathybius Snyder, 1911. W. Pacific 73 42 57.5
Emperors (Lethrinidae) Red-axil Emperor, Lethrinus conchyliatus (Smith, 1959). Indo-West Pacific 44 37 84.1
Fusiliers (Caesionidae) Capricorn fusilier, Pterocaesio capricornis Smith & Smith, 1963. W. Indian Ocean 23 20 87.0
Estimated Totals   556 436 78.4

Species pictured above, from top to bottom:

Sparidae  Yellowback Seabream, Dentex hypselosomus Bleeker, 1854. Japan. Photo: Masato Shiina, Uwajima Fisheries High School, Japan.

Haemulidae  Black Margate, Anisotremus surinamensis (Bloch, 1791). W. Atlantic. Image: S. Atl. Fish. Manag. Council.  

Lutjanidae  Yellowfin Red Snapper, Lutjanus guilcheri Fourmanoir, 1959. Indian Ocean. Image: FAO.

Nemipteridae  Yellowbelly Threadfin Bream, Nemipterus bathybius  Snyder, 1911. W. Pacific. Image: Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences.

Letherinidae  Red-axil Emperor, Lethrinus conchyliatus  (Smith, 1959). Indo-West Pacific. Image: Painting by R. Swainston, courtesy of FAO.

Caesionidae  Capricorn fusilier, Pterocaesio capricornis  Smith & Smith, 1963. W. Indian Ocean. Image: Painting by P. Lastrico, courtesy of FAO.

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