Yellow-belly Rockcod

(Epinephelus marginatus)

Geelpens-klipkabeljou, Yellowbelly, Dusky Grouper

1. What is it?

Yellow-belly rockcod (Epinephelus marginatus) are slow growing, late maturing fish able to change sex from female to male making them susceptible to overfishing. They have been subject to high fishing pressure and in 1998 the spawning stock was only 33% of unexploited levels. No recent stock assessment has been done and the species is listed as Endangered on IUCN’s list for threatened species.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Yellow belly rockcod are caught using the traditional linefishing methods of rod and reel or handlines operating from small ski-and deckboats. Linefishing is a relatively selective fishing method with few impacts on the marine environment and little accidental bycatch.

3. Where is it from?

Yellow belly rockcod are found in rocky reefs from Cape Point in South Africa to Inhambane in Mozambique. Management for the sector is considered partly effective through a total allowable effort (TAE) limitation for the commercial sector, minimum size (60 cm) for recreational sector and a bag limit (1 pp/pd) for both sectors. There is some concern over the impact of the small-scale fishery rights allocation beyond the recommended TAE and the continuously growing recreational sector.