Flavia C.F. Pinheiro, Associação Ambiental Voz da Natureza (Vitória, Espírito Santo 29050-780, Brazil); Department of Oceanography and Ecology of the Federal University of Espírito Santo (Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil).
Hudson T. Pinheiro, Associação Ambiental Voz da Natureza (Vitória, Espírito Santo 29050-780, Brazil); Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department of the University of California Santa Cruz (California 95060, USA); California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco, California 94118, USA); e-mail:
Thiago J.F. Costa, Associação Ambiental Voz da Natureza (Vitória, Espírito Santo 29050-780, Brazil).
João B. Teixeira, Associação Ambiental Voz da Natureza (Vitória, Espírito Santo 29050-780, Brazil); State University of Santa Cruz (Ilhéus, Bahia 45662-900, Brazil).
João L. Gasparini, Department of Oceanography and Ecology of the Federal University of Espírito Santo (Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil).
Jean-Christophe Joyeux, Department of Oceanography and Ecology of the Federal University of Espírito Santo (Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil).
Agnaldo S. Martins, Department of Oceanography and Ecology of the Federal University of Espírito Santo (Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil).

Reference to article

Pinheiro F.C.F., Pinheiro H.T., Costa T.J.F., Teixeira J.B., Gasparini J., Joyeux J.-C., Martins A.S. 2018. Harvest of endangered marine invertebrates in a priority area for conservation in Brazil. Nature Conservation Research 3(4): 78–81.

Section Short Communications

The harvesting of marine organisms for aquarium and ornamental art crafts is a very common and widespread activity, threatening a number of coral reef species. The goal of this manuscript is to report the intensive harvesting of two marine invertebrate species, the starfish Oreaster reticulatus and the gorgonian Phyllogorgia dilatata, in reef environments of a national priority area for the creation of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Espírito Santo State, central coast of Brazil. These species were present on the 2003 Brazilian Red List of Endangered species as threatened of extinction, but P. dilatata was removed from the most recent 2014 Brazilian Red List, while O. reticulatus is currently considered vulnerable. Neither species have been assessed by IUCN. The harvest of these invertebrates was registered in 17% of the 51 days of monitoring (ten expeditions between March 2005 and February 2006), with catches of up to 24 starfishes and 1000 gorgonians in a single day. Starfishes used to be sold to local traders for US$ 0.50 each, and each gorgonian for US$ 0.15. This starfish is already in decline on a regional scale, and the actual harvesting rate of the gorgonian could lead to the extinction of the local population in about 17 years of exploitation. Due to the ecological importance of these two endangered species, their harvest threatens the entire local rocky reef ecosystem. Further ecological and fisheries studies on these species should be conducted, and the definition and creation of the MPA could help to manage all the unsustainable activities conducted and expected in the region.


endangered marine invertebrates, gorgonian, harvest, Marine Protected Area, Oreaster reticulatus, Phyllogorgia dilatata, starfish

Artice information

Received: 10.03.2017

The full text of the article

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