Get access

Biology of santer seabream Cheimerius nufar (Val. 1830) from the Arabian Sea off Oman


Author's address: A. Al-Marzouqi, Marine Science and Fisheries Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth, PO Box 1546, P.C. 133, Muscat, Oman.



The declining trend in the catches of santer seabream, Cheimerius nufar (Val. 1830), and sizable capture of immature and mature fish from the Arabian Sea at the coast of Oman have led to questioning the hypothesis that the fishery is in a state of decline due to inappropriate management. The lack of data on the basic biology and landing statistics for exploited fish species have made the management of fish resources in western Indian Ocean complicated. This paper presents data on the population biology of C. nufar in the Arabian Sea, with a view to contributing towards the development of management plans for a sustainable exploitation. A total of 4132 fish were obtained from the artisanal hand-line fishery catch at the Lakbi and Salalah landing sites from April 2005 to March 2007. Size distribution ranged from 16 to 64 cm [total length (TL)]. About 67.5% of the catch was composed of fish measuring <32 cm TL. Neither sex dominated the population nor were there significant differences in the monthly and annual sex-ratios tested by chi-squared. Spawning is from May to October. The declining trend in the hepatosomatic indice (HPI) values from September to February was almost identical to the declining trend in the gonado-somatic indice (GSI) values. The rise and fall in the condition factor (CF) values could not be related to the spawning period. Females and males mature at 31.9 and 33.7 cm TL, respectively. Otolith readings indicated the life span to be about 13 years. The instantaneous rate of natural mortality was estimated with M = 0.62 year−1.