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

Acanthopagrus bifasciatus | (Forsskål, 1775)
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
Two colour morphs of this species have been observed, and further taxonomic study is needed (Y. Iwatsuki pers. comm. 2009). A northern and southern population were originally both described as Acanthopagrus bifasciatus in the Indian Ocean. Iwatsuki and Heemstra (2011) determined that both populations were two valid species, the northern population (Red Sea to the Arabian Gulf) is described as A. bifasciatus, while the southern population (southern Oman to South Africa) is described as A. catenula (Lacepède 1801).
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 the Gulf of Aden to Pakistan, including the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf (Iwatsuki and Heemstra 2011). This species occurs to 30 m depth (Sommer et al. 1996).
Habitats and Ecology
Ecological system type
Terrestrial system
Freshwater system
Marine system
Habitat details as listed in assessment
This species is associated with reefs in shallow coastal waters and also occurs in estuaries and bays (Sommer et al. 1996, Y. Iwatsuki pers. comm. 2009). Prey items consist mainly of molluscs and other benthic invertebrates (Masuda and Allen 1993). It occurs in small schools (Lieske and Myers 1994) and can attain 50 cm total length (Sommer et al. 1996). It is suspected to be protogynous and spawning in the southern Arabian Gulf occurs from January to April. Spawning aggregations have been observed off Oman (Y. Iwatsuki pers. comm. 2009). Sexual maturity is attained at 26.4 cm fork length or 4.6 years for females and 21.9 cm or 2.4 years for males (Grandcourt et al. 2004). It has been recorded to a maximum age of 19-21 years (Samuel and Mathews 1987, Grandcourt et al. 2004). When applying an age at first reproduction of 4.5 years and longevity of 20 years, its estimated generation length is 12.25 years based on the following equation recommended by the IUCN Red List methods: Age at first reproduction + (Age at last reproduction -“ age at first reproduction)/2.
Is there a map available in assessment?
Assessed status
Asessment status in full
Assessment status abreviation
Assessment status criteria
Assessment rationale/justification
This coastal and estuarine species occurs throughout UAE waters. It is heavily exploited in the commercial trap fisheries of the UAE and Arabian Gulf region. Despite stock assessment results indicating it is underexploited in Abu Dhabi as of 2004 and 2014, catch has declined by 91% over the past 16 years, or a little more than one generation length. Based on these data, and fish market observations, it is inferred that the species has undergone declines of at least 50% and possibly more over the past generation length. Its population status in areas neighboring the UAE is not known, but it is heavily exploited elsewhere as well. With recent fisheries management measures implemented in Abu Dhabi, it is difficult to say whether fishing effort will continue to increase or decrease within the near future; however, effort in this fishery in surrounding Emirates where management measures are not stringent may increase or remain the same. Considering that other Emirates and surrounding countries that likely share this stock do not have management measures in place to reduce effort in the gargoor fishery, population declines are expected to continue. In addition, degradation of coastal habitats, especially for coral reefs is ongoing in the UAE and Arabian Gulf region. It is listed as Endangered A2bcd+A4bcd.
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 major threat to this species. Coastal development in the UAE and Arabian Gulf region, which includes destruction and degradation of coral reefs and estuaries, may also impact this species given its habitat preferences.
Conservation Measures

Conservation measures:
Conservation measures notes:
Required conservation measures:

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