The Harlequin Fish (Othos dentex) is a southern Australian endemic with a limited geographic distribution (S.A. and W.A.), and a limited known depth range.
It is a site-associated on coastal reefs, over a narrow depth range, and has vulnerable population characteristics, similar to other species in the Serranidae family. Although there is a paucity of quantitative information about population sizes, it is likely that the relative abundance of this species in South Australia is much lower than in Western Australia.
There is concern that abundance may have declined over time in areas where water quality is reduced, and reefs are degraded. Harlequin Fish are caught by recreational fishermen, guests of charter fishing trips and (to a lesser extent) by commercial operators across its range by a number of methods.
Few controls are placed on its capture, particularly in South Australia, and no investigation of the potential impacts of fishing has been undertaken.
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