Acanthopagrus arabicus | UAE National Red List of Marine Species: Reef-building corals, cartilaginous fishes and select bony fishes

Acanthopagrus arabicus | Iwatsuki, 2013
Countries in Assessment
United Arab Emirates
Country ISO code(s)
Does the assessment cover a marine EEZ area(s)?
Scope (Assessment)
Taxonomic Group
Taxonomic Group Level 2
Assessed taxon level
Taxonomic Notes
Acanthopagrus latus was recently split in to five cryptic species: A. latus (distributed in east Asia), A. longispinnis (Valenciennes in Cuvier and Valenciennes 1830) (northern Gulf of Bengal Bay), and three new species, A. morrisoni, A. arabicus, and A. sheim. The five species can be distinguished from one another by the counts of dorsal-fin rays, pore lateral-line scales, scale rows between the fifth dorsal-fin spine base and lateral line, and other distinguishing morphological characteristics and body and fin coloration (Iwatsuki 2013).
Taxon distribution as listed in assessment
This species occurs throughout UAE waters. Globally, it is restricted to the Western Indian Ocean where it occurs from southern Oman to the Arabian Gulf to Qatar and Kuwait, and presumably from Iran and Pakistan to southwestern India (Iwatsuki 2013). Its depth range is 0-50 m.
Habitats and Ecology
Ecological system type
Terrestrial system
Freshwater system
Marine system
Habitat details as listed in assessment
This species schools in more shallow waters than Acanthopagrus sheim, usually less than 50 m depth (Y. Iwatsuki pers. comm. 2013). It occurs in estuaries and lower reaches of rivers as well as other nearshore coastal habitats (Esmaeili et al. 2014). Its diet consists mainly of echinoderms, worms, crustaceans, and mollusks. Typically, this species does not grow larger than 35 cm total length (Y. Iwatsuki pers. comm. 2013). It conducts seasonal migrations in coastal waters (Doustdar et al. 2019).
Is there a map available in assessment?
Assessed status
Asessment status in full
Data deficient
Assessment status abreviation
Assessment rationale/justification
This coastal species occurs throughout UAE waters. It is targeted by commercial fisheries throughout the Arabian Gulf, and is lumped with catch of Acanthopagrus sheim. Catch in Abu Dhabi declined by about 70% over the past decade with fishing effort at stable levels or increasing over time. However, stock assessments conducted in 2010 and 2018 consider it underexploited. Due to this conflicting information, the lack of life history data to estimate generation length and potential major threat from overfishing, it is listed as Data Deficient in the UAE. Improvements in fisheries monitoring are needed.
About the assessment
Assessment year
Assessors/contributors/reviewers listed
UAE National Red List Workshop
Affliation of assessor(s)/contributors/reviewers listed on assessment
Assessor affiliation specific
Criteria system
Criteria system specifics
IUCN v3.1 + Regional Guidelines v4.0
Criteria system used
Criteria Citation
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1, Second edition. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. iv + 32pp pp. And IUCN. 2012. Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels: Version 4.0. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN. iii + 41pp.
Endemic to region
Endemism Notes
Is an endemic?: Not_assigned
Threats listed in assessment
Overfishing is a potential major threat. Corals in the UAE and Arabian Gulf have severely declined due to the increasing frequency of mass bleaching events caused by rising water temperatures, which is a consequence of climate change, as well as pervasive coastal development (Riegl et al. 2018, Burt et al. 2019).
Conservation Measures

Conservation measures:
Conservation measures notes:
Required conservation measures:

Scientific Name Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Acanthopagrus arabicus Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Sparidae Acanthopagrus