Groupers and wrasses are largely dependent on rocky and coral reefs. Many are long-lived and slow-growing. Some species are also hermaphroditic in which the adult females may change to male at some stage of their life. Despite the fact that most species produce large numbers of eggs each year, rates of population growth are slow, and evidence is growing that many species can only withstand light levels of fishing pressure. The high value of many species, however, makes them a particularly appealing target for domestic (increasingly for tourism) and export trades.
Fishing is not only directed towards adults, juveniles are also taken as ornamentals and, for a small number of species, also for mariculture grow-out. Indeed, in Southeast Asia, millions of juveniles are targetted annually to supply the mariculture industry, even for species that can be hatchery raised if wild-caught juveniles are cheaper. Of some concern is the increasing numbers of groupers that are now marketed in their juvenile phase because so few adults are regularly available, as in SE Asia and parts of the Caribbean. The high value live reef food fish trade is of particular concern because rapidly growing demand for live fish is outstripping supply of some valuable species. One example is the Humphead (or Napoleon wrasse), which was the first reef fish used as food to be listed on CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Appendix II because of this trade.
Many the larger species of groupers and wrasses aggregate to spawn for short periods and at specific locations each year. The practice of targeting spawning aggregations, both in the western tropical Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific regions, is considered to be a particular threat because such aggregations evidently represent all annual reproductive activity. These aggregations are vulnerable bottlenecks in the life history of many species and need to be protected or managed using spatial and/or temporal measures (www.SCRFA.org).
The various pressures, particularly exploitation, on these two families have led to marked declines in several species. In 2007, the GWSG held a workshop in which all grouper species were assessed for threat levels. That workshop indicated that many species, even those not currently under pressure from directed fishing efforts, were threatened or near-threatened based on the IUCN criteria.
Take a look at the THREATENED GROUPERS:
CR, END and VU Species Common Name Red list status
Epinephelus drummondhayi Speckled hind CR
E. itajara Atlantic Goliath grouper CR
Hyporthodus nigritus Warsaw grouper CR
E. akaara Hong Kong grouper END
E. marginatus Dusky grouper END
E. striatus Nassau grouper END
Mycteroperca fusca Island grouper END
M. jordani Gulf grouper END
E. albomarginatus White-edged grouper VU
E. bruneus Longtooth grouper VU
E. gabriellae Multispotted grouper VU
E. lanceolatus Giant grouper VU
H. flavolimbatus Yellowedge grouper VU
H. niveatus Snowy grouper VU
Cromileptes altivelis Humpback grouper VU
M. interstitialis Yellowmouth grouper VU
M. olfax Sailfin groupre VU
M. rosacea Leopard grouper VU
Plectropomus areolatus Squaretail coralgrouper VU
P. laevis Blacksaddled coralgrouper VU