IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Continued monitoring is required to establish population trends. Research is also needed to establish area of occupancy. It is highly recommended that density sampling performed at a large enough scale (sampling more area to obtain sound abundance-area relationships) and be conducted proportionally at all parts of the distribution.
There is a paucity of information relevant to natural population demography. The two databases that contain quantified records of the Spanish Hogfish are REEF (Reef Environment Education Foundation) and GMAD (Global Marine Aquarium Database). However, although the records are extensive both in terms of location and duration, they are either inappropriate for assessment of population trends in REEF’s case, or of highly questionable nature in GMAD’s case. The REEF data is presented as sighting frequency, and given that available information indicates patchy distribution among habitats (e.g. Gardiner and Harborne 2000, Brosnan et al 2002), unsystematic sampling may not be able to represent the spatial and temporal variability of the ecosystem. Therefore it would probably be the best to use these data, as the foundation recommends, as a detailed description of distribution range rather than for extrapolation of population trends. GMAD data regarding international trade of this species is almost certainly incomplete: while local researchers reported export of 3716 individuals during 1995-2000 in a single state of Brazil (Monteiro-Neto et al. 2003), GMAD listed only 2,251 individuals exported from the entire country in the same period, underestimating trade almost two fold.
Estimates of natural populations may be made on some very loose assumptions. Using density data from the Caribbean, estimated total coral reef area and the percentage of habitat actually utilized in the distribution (based on REEF sighting frequency data, which though cannot be used for indication of density, may instead be used as the probability of B. rufus' occurrence in a part of its distribution), an estimate of ~3,841,800 individuals is produced. The number is probably being reduced, though to what extent unknown, primarily through impacts of collection for aquarium. Exploitation pressure is unclear but probably varied throughout its distribution. Potential threats may also include habitat degradation through onshore human activities which, like overexploitation, is extensive and continuous in their habitat. Two thirds of coral reefs inB. rufus' distribution are under medium to very high threat from anthropogenic factors (Burke and Maiden 2004), but the effect on the Spanish Hogfish is indeterminable since no study has investigated as to why B. rufus' shows such strong preference for reef habitats. In general, the animal’s response to these threat factors has not been quantified and too little qualitative work exists for assumptions of generality.