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Marine Species

2007 Red List

Fishing out our oceans: the list of threatened marine species continues to grow

Humphead parrotfish , (Bolbometopon muricatum). Photo: Photo: © Georgette Douwma / naturepl.comAs the number of marine species assessments increases, so does the number of species in danger. The 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ shows that excessive and destructive fishing activities play a primary role in oceans biodiversity loss.
Full release // 2007 IUCN Red List // Marine red list case studies [PDF]



Great Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna mokarran)

Photo: © The Shark Trust/Jeremy Stafford-Deitsch

Status: Endangered

This is a large, widely distributed tropical shark largely restricted to continental shelves. The species is highly valued for its fins (in target and incidental fisheries), suffers very high bycatch mortality and only reproduces once every two years, making it vulnerable to over-exploitation and population depletion. Given its vulnerability to depletion, its low survival at capture and high value for the fin trade, this species is considered Endangered globally based on the available evidence for declines of  over 50%.


Bangaii Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)

Photo:© B Jones & M Shimlock / NHPA / Photoshot

Status: Endangered

The Banggai Cardinalfish is a rare example of a marine fish with an extremely limited geographic range. This Endangered fish is endemic to the Banggai Archipelago in Indonesia; its total range area is around 5,500 km², however the maximum potential habitat available within this range is about 34 km². The Banggai Cardinalfish is highly prized in the aquarium trade and has been heavily exploited since 1994, resulting in an 89% reduction in population from the start of aquarium fishery in 1995-1996 to 2007. - Printable fact sheet ¦ Français

Humphead parrotfish , (Bolbometopon muricatum)

Photo © Georgette Douwma /


Status: Vulnerable

This Indo-Pacific marine fish is a large-sized, long-lived species with low replacement rates and high vulnerability to fishing pressure. It is now considered globally rare, and local extinctions at some localities are suspected. The main threat to the Humphead Parrotfish is fishing, particularly spearfishing.



Floreana Coral (Tubastrea floreana)

Photo© Paul Humann /

Status: Critically Endangered

This species is endemic to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. The species is presumed to have been widespread and not uncommon prior to 1983 because it was recorded at six sites during a time of very little underwater survey activity. Colonies subsequently disappeared from all six known sites at the time of the 1982-1983 El Niño. Decline since 1982 is estimated to exceed 80%. The threat of El Niño has not ceased and there is likely to be continuing decline in the range of this species. - Printable fact sheet ¦ Français

Wellington's Solitary Coral (Rhizopsammia wellingtoni)

Photo© Paul Humann /

Status: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct)

This species is endemic to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. All colonies known prior to the 1982-1983 El Niño event have apparently since disappeared, although a few colonies of the species have been detected at two sites. Estimated decline since 1982 is over 90%. The threat of El Niño has not ceased and there is likely to be continuing decline in the range of this species. - Printable fact sheet ¦ Français


Galápagos Kelp (Eisenia galapagensis)

Photo© Sean Connell, University of Adelaide

Status: Vulnerable

Galápagos kelp is a type of seaweed that grows only in the Galápagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador in South America. It grows in groups at an average depth of 27 to 55m (88 to 180 feet) and is a primary food source for species such as sea urchins. It was previously found throughout the Galápagos Islands archipelago but today its population is decreasing so that it is only being located near a few islands. This decline is thought to be a result of both climate change and El Niño events (periodic ocean-atmospheric climate warming). Hunting of predators that eat sea urchins is also affecting the seaweed, since sea urchin populations are growing rapidly and consuming large quantities of kelp.



IUCN Marine Species specialist Groups websites

Marine Turtle Specialist Group


Groupers and Wrasses Specialist Group


Shark Specialist Group



Recent Publications

Shark Depredation and Unwanted
Bycatch in Pelagic Longline Fisheries

Gilman et al
© 2007 Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council



The Status and Distribution of Cetaceans in the Black Sea and
Mediterranean Sea

Randall R. Reeves and Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara
© IUCN, September 2006



Sharks, Rays, and Chimaeras: The Status of the Chondrichthyan Fishes, compiled by the SSC Shark Specialist Group and the culmination of several years’ work has recently been published. The Status Report goes a long way towards systematically laying out the rationale and need for sustainable management and conservation of chondrichthyan stocks and lays the foundation for a Conservation Action Plan. It can be ordered from the IUCN Bookstore

Executive summary



Sakhalin II Project and Western Grey Whales

Grey WhaleIndependent Scientific Review Panel - September 2004 to February 2005

ISRP Follow-up Workshop - May 2005

Lender's Workshop - Vancouver - September 2005


Other resources

Captured dolphins (Solomon Islands)Large-scale live capture of dolphins for export:
Report of the fact-finding mission to the Solomon Islands

Full report


Yangtze River Porpoise. Courtesy www.baiji.orgWorkshop on Conservation of the Baiji and Yangtze Finless Porpoise

Full report