Coastal Fisheries Programme
couv-ID guide

Identification guide to the common coastal food fishes
of the Pacific Islands region

 by Brad Moore and Boris Colas

This identification guide has been produced by SPC to assist fisheries officers with the identification of the common coastal food fishes encountered in catches or during market surveys. The guide contains approximately 320 of the most commonly targeted coastal sharks, rays and bony fishes in the Pacific Islands region.

Catches of coastal finfish in the Pacific Island countries and territories are typically characterised by a wide variety of species from many different taxonomic families. Often even closely-related species exhibit vastly different life histories, particularly with respect to growth rates, maturity schedules and longevities, and thus may have vastly different vulnerabilities to fishing pressure. Being able to accurately identify harvested species will improve reporting on catches, improving monitoring of coastal fisheries in the region and ultimately lead to more effective management.

In addition to a high-resolution photo, information included for each species consists of the scientific and common English names, a description of the key identifying features which are additionally linked to the photo of the species, the species’ likely presence or absence from each individual Pacific Island country and territory, and, where relevant, notes on similar species, and the key features that can be used to separate these.

The guide is intended to aid fisheries officers identify species encountered during their catch or market surveys. Therefore, it was considered important to include photos of dead fish (where possible), rather than in-water images, as these would be similar to the states and colours of fishes that officers will encounter during their surveys. While the bulk of species photos were provided by renowned ichthyologist and fish photographer John Randall, securing images for all species included in the guide proved to be major challenge, with images provided by researchers and amateur fish photographers from locations as far afield as Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States.

The guide has been produced with financial assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia, and the European Union through the ‘Scientific Support for the Management of Coastal and Oceanic Fisheries in the Pacific Islands Region’ (‘SciCOFish’) project.

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Table of contents (and links to individual chapters)

Cover, acknowledgements, introduction, how to use this guide, families included in this guide
p.10-12 Carcharhinidae, Sphyrnidae
(Requiem sharks, Hammerhead sharks)
p.59 Leiognathidae

p.13-14 Aetobatidae, Dasyatidae
(Pelagic eagle rays, Stingrays)

p.60-67 Lethrinidae
p.15-24 Acanthuridae

p.68-77 Lutjanidae

p.25 Albulidae

p.78 Megalopidae
p.26 Balistidae

p.79 Monodactylidae

p.27 Belonidae

p.80-81 Mugilidae
p.28-29 Caesionidae

p.82-86 Mullidae
p.30-37 Carangidae

p.87 Muraenidae
(Moray eels)
p.38 Chanidae
p.88 Polynemidae

p.39 Congridae
(Conger eels)

p.89 Priacanthidae
p.40 Coryphaenidae
p.90-104 Scaridae

p.41 Ephippidae

p.105-107 Scombridae
(Mackerels, Tunas)
p.42-43 Gerreidae
p.108-122 Serranidae

p.44-47 Haemulidae

p.123-127 Siganidae

p.48-53 Holocentridae
(Soldierfish and Squirrelfish)
p.128-129 Sphyraenidae

p.54 Kyphosidae
(Sea chubs)

p.130 Terapontidae
p.55-58 Labridae
p.131 Zanclidae
(Moorish idol)

Further reading, index


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