- Photo. (c) 2019 John Nevill
- Photo. (c) 2019 John Nevill.
- Dark colour form. Photo. (c) 2019 John Nevill.
Scientific Name: Lutjanus sebae
English Name: Emperor red snapper
Creole Name: Bourzwa
French Name: Vivaneau bourgeois
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)
Dorsal spines: 11; Dorsal rays: 15-16; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 10.
Very deep-bodied snapper. Dorsal profile of head steeply sloped. Snout profile straight or slightly convex. Posterior profile of dorsal and anal fins distinctly pointed.
Caudal fin slightly forked.
Adults generally red or pink. Juveniles and sub-adults silvery white to light pink with three dark red bands on the body. The first band from first dorsal spine through
eye to tip of snout; the second from middle of spinous part of dorsal fin to pelvic fin; and the third from base of last dorsal spine running obliquely downward across
caudal peduncle and along lower edge of caudal fin. A darker colour form is also occasionally seen with orange-brown body and brown stripes. Large adults can become
Maturity: Lm 54.2 cm TL. Range 49-? cm. Max Length: 116cm. Common length 60 cm.
(Grandcourt et al. 2008. Most individuals have reached full maturity at 62 cm).
Habitat and Ecology:
Occurs in the vicinity of coral reefs, often over adjacent sand flats and gravel patches (depth 5-180 m). Juveniles less than 20 cm long are common in mangrove areas in near
shore, turbid waters, or among both coastal and deeper water offshore reefs. They move to deeper waters as they grow larger. Feeds on fishes, crabs, stomatopods, other
benthic crustaceans and cephalopods. They form schools of similar-sized individuals or are solitary. They are broadcast spawners.
This species is not protected but is subject to fishery regulations (see below). It is caught in the handline and fish trap fishery. It is a common and sometimes abundant
component of the catch. It is the most highly valued species of the demersal fishery sought after by exporters, hotels and restaurants alike, as well as the local populace.
It is apparent that its spawning aggregations are being targeted and there is strong evidence of overfishing of the species.
On the 6th of February 2020 the provsions of the Mahe Plateau trap and line fishery were gazetted and became law. This included a minimum retention size for Lutjanus sebae
of 32 cm Fork Length (FL). It is to be noted that this size is well below the Lm50 (i.e. mean size at maturity) for the species and that this therefore is an interim measure
until such time as Phase 2 of the plan confirms the local Lm50 for the species. Following media coverage it appears enforcement of this regulation commenced in June 2022.
The President of Seychelles (Mr Danny Faure) announced in his State of the Nation Address (20/02/2020) that the commercial export of red snapper will be banned as of
15th April 2020, this measure was rescinded shortly thereafter.
Allen, G.R. (1985). FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 6 Snappers of the World. UNFAO Rome 1985.
Bray, D.J. Lutjanus sebae in Fishes of Australia, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/567 (27/03/19).
Froese, R. & D. Pauly. (Eds.) (2019). FishBase. https://www.fishbase.se/Summary/Lutjanus-sebae.html (26/03/19).
Grandcourt, E.M. et al. (2008). Retrospective stock assessment of the Emperor red snaper (Lutjanus sebae) on the Seychelles Bank between 1977 and 2006. ICES Journal
of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil 65(6): 889-898.
Heemstra P & Heemstra, E. (2004). Coastal Fishes of Southern Africa. NISC SAIAB. ISBN: 1-920033-01-7.
Nevill, J. (2013). A Species Identification Guide for Commonly Caught Fish in the Seychelles Near-Shore Artisanal Fishery. GOS/UNDP/GEF.
Russell, B. et al. (2016). Lutjanus sebae. The IUCN Red List 2016: http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T194343A2316689.en. (26/03/19).
Nevill, J.E.G. (2019). Lutjanus sebae, Emperor red snapper. Seychelles Seatizens. www.seatizens.sc. https://seatizens.sc/species/lutjanus-sebae-cuvier-1816/ (edited 22/07/22).
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