The Black Musselcracker, Cymatoceps nasutus, is listed as Vulnerable on The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. It is endemic to South Africa, found from Cape Agulhas, Western Cape, to St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal. It is a large solitary fish found on rocky reefs to a depth of about 80 m.
Black Musselcrackers comprise a small part of the commercial line fishery in South Africa and are mainly caught from recreational ski-boats fishing on reefs. They are also often targeted by spear fishermen and occasionally hooked by shore anglers fishing from rocky points into deep water. This species is vulnerable to overexploitation due to its long life span, slow growth, limited range and large body size. Having been heavily exploited throughout the 20th century, it has experienced a significant population decline.
The Black Musselcracker is currently managed with a minimum size limit of 50 cm total length and a strict daily bag limit of one fish per person per day. Marine Protected Areas play a major conservation role for this species, as indicated by the increasing trend in abundance of this fish in these protected areas. The establishment of additional no-take Marine Protected Areas are needed to ensure the recovery of stocks of this iconic species.