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Ecologia
Year: 2015  |  Volume: 5  |  Issue: 1  |  Page No.: 22 - 30

Population Structure, Condition and Length-Weight Relationships of Ten Vulnerable Epinephelus Genus Groupers off Kenyan South Coast Indian Ocean Marine Waters

B.O. Ogongo, E.C. Mwachiro and B.M. Fulanda    

Abstract: Groupers are apex predatory fishes playing important local economic roles and ecosystem functions worldwide. The Kenyan coast Indian Ocean waters have been a good landing centre for 30 Epinephelus genus species groupers. However, of late, their natural populations have greatly decreased with most being caught when still either juveniles or sub adults. Their individuals mean length and weights also showing drastic reductions. Thus, to avert this alarming population decline, length and weight reductions, information data is needed for use in the initiation of conservation measures for these prized premium fishes. This study therefore elucidates the population structure, conditions and length-weight relationships of 10 highly sought vulnerable Epinephelus genus grouper fishes off Kenyan inshore marine waters. The study results indicate declining population abundances, varying significant conditions (p<0.001) and negative allometric Length-Weight Relationship (LWR) growth regression coefficients (r2) appearing stronger (r2>0.7048) for 9 of the species. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) between the regression line intercept (a) and slopes (b) among the species however revealed equal regression line slopes (p>0.05) demonstrating that all came from populations with equal slopes. The consistent non isometric patterns shown by the r2 analyses in the plotted power curved data also suggests that unless stringent management measures are implemented to restrict further over-exploitation of these International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) vulnerable listed fishes; it is likely that the species already categorized as ‘Near Threatened’ in the IUCN red list would soon become ‘Endangered’ while those ‘Endangered’ extinct. This can greatly result into the alteration of the ecosystems’ ecological health as the fishes constitute important apex predators in the demersal food web and their stock depletions would be disastrous to the ecosystems.

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