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Fish #145 Common Pandora Pagellus erythrinus ~ Naomi Doughty
Acrylic on canvas 70 x 50 cm
A demersal species inhabiting various types of bottom (rock, gravel, sand, mud) to depths of 220 m, but mainly in the upper 100 m, the young occurring nearer to the shore. During winter, the stocks move into deeper waters. It is a protogynic hermaphrodite (first females, becoming males in their third year at sizes of about 17 to 18 cm). The species is omnivorous, with a predominantly carnivorous diet.
Reproduction occurs from spring to autumn depending on hydrological conditions. In the Atlantic, spawning occurs in spring, extending sometimes until early summer (Lloris et al. 1977). This species is a protogynous hermaphrodite (Andaloro and Giarritta 1985, Girardin and Quignard 1985, Papaconstantinou et al. 1988, Livadas 1989), the females becoming males first in their third year at sizes of about 17 cm (Pajuelo and Lorenzo 1998). Sexual maturity occurs at two to three years of age. The sex ratio is unbalanced in favour of females (Vassilopoulou et al. 1986, Pajuelo and Lorenzo 1998). The absence of females in the largest size classes implies that sex conversion occurs in all fish.
There is potential for localized declines from fishing. The species occurs in some marine protected areas in the Mediterranean Sea. The minimum size limit is 15 cm in Turkey. In the Canary Islands, where conservation legislation on fisheries exists, a minimum size limit has been implemented for the species (220 mm TL), but is of limited benefit because the minimum length which may be legally kept is smaller than the length at first maturity of males (Pajuelo and Lorenzo 1998). This species is therefore susceptible to exploitation at a size when many other coexisting demersal species are mature or immature. Measures such as closed season or changes in fishing pattern would be desirable to safeguard the spawning stock and the recruits. It is recommended to implement fishing regulations to ensure that this species is not targeted during its short female reproductive period (Pajuelo and Lorenzo 1998).
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