Mero Fish - Get to know one of the most exotic species in the region
Rare in nature and threatened by humans
This curious and giant fish also known as canapu or canapuguaçu, takes the scientific name of Epinephelus itajara (itá, stone + îara, sir), and belongs to the family of Garoupas and Whiting (Serranidae). It is a species that inhabits estuarine areas and coastal areas throughout the Brazilian coast. They are usually found in mangroves and rocky shores, close to shipwrecks, bridge pillars and parcéis. The species is very vulnerable to fishing, as it has slow growth rates, reaches large sizes, reproduces and has sexual maturity belatedly, besides being territorialist. The Mero can exceed two meters in length, but nevertheless, it allows the human hands to touch it and it is easier to catch.
In the Atlantic Mero fish can weigh more than 400 kg. Adults can live 30 years of age and are marked by their flat head and wide, small eyes, yellowish brown to olive, with dark spots on the head, body and fins. Males tend to change color by courting the female and feed mainly on crustaceans and fish. Octopuses and sea turtles were also found in the digestive tract. This species is considered critically endangered (IUCN) due to the high rate of capture by underwater hunting and fishing (spiny, trap).
We know that in the coast of Tibau do Sul and region there are records of the occurrence of these animals in rocky marine environments and estuaries. The rocky environments of the beaches of the Center, Amor and also the area of the lagoon of Guaraíras are favorable for the species that incidentally has already been registered in these places. On days of good visibility underwater hunting is performed in these environments where the rare Mero fish lives. Who performs the underwater hunting must avoid the capture of the species that is sometimes killed in the juvenile stage in the mangroves.
When we perform the activity of underwater hunting or fishing in whatever form, we must respect the species that are there, avoiding the capture of animals with roe, respecting the size of the animal to be captured, season of the closed, and not sacrificing an animal atoa in view that it plays an important role in the environment. An animal such as Mero fish plays such a role and as many sharks do not have natural predators in their adulthood and in the food chain control the population of several other marine species.
"A good underwater hunter is not the one who returns with the greatest amount of fish or the biggest fish, but rather the one that comes with the certainty of having respected the survival of the species for the hunting of tomorrow."
By Daniel Henrique Gil. Text originally published in Bora Magazine - issue 12 - Jun / Jul 2015
Photo by Albert kok - Wikimedia Commons