Catch Composition, Abundance and Length-Weight Relationships of Groupers (Pisces: Serranidae) from Inshore Waters of Kenya
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Abstract—Groupers (family Serranidae) support important artisanal fisheries in most of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region. However, despite their economic and ecological importance, they are poorly studied in the region. This study describes, for the first time, the species composition, abundance and length-weight relationship of groupers from Kenya’s inshore artisanal fisheries. Data were obtained from landings by artisanal fishers on the south coast of Kenya from February to July 2007. A total of 37 species belonging to six genera, viz. Anyperodon, Cephalopholis, Dermatolepis, Epinephelus, Plectropomus and Variola, were landed by fishers. The genus Epinephelus was the most speciose in the landings, with 20 species. Significantly higher numbers of groupers were landed during the southeast monsoon (n = 616) compared to the northeast monsoon (n = 184) season (χ2 = 125.812, df = 1, p <0.001). Of the three sites studied, more species were recorded at Shimoni (n = 36) compared to the Msambweni and Vanga sites (14 and 8 species, respectively). Length-weight relationships derived for 15 species indicated that most groupers exhibited isometric growth. This work provides baseline data on the composition, distribution and abundance of grouper species in Kenya useful for comparison with the rest of the WIO region.