The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reported during its annual Red List update on Saturday in Marseille, France, that despite global improvement at the species level, the number of species that are at high risk continues to grow.
The organization said that many regional tuna stocks remain severely depleted. For example, yellowfin tuna continues to be overfished in the Indian Ocean.
Their update also included a reassessment of the world’s shark and ray species, which shows that 37% of those species are now facing extinction. All of the threatened shark and ray species are overfished, IUCN reported, with 31% of them further affected by loss and degradation of habitat and 10% also affected by climate change.
“We note striking similarities between the shark and ray statistics and recent estimates for plants: about 2 in 5 are threatened with extinction, and habitat loss and degradation present more immediate threats than climate change,” said Dr. Eimear Nic Lughadha, a conservation scientist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Additionally, the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, is now considered endangered due to a significant habitat loss from ongoing human activities and climate change, IUCN reported.
The four tuna species include the Atlantic bluefin tuna, which moved from “endangered” to “least concern,” the Southern bluefin tuna, which moved from “critically endangered” to “endangered,” the albacore and yellowfin tuna, both of which moved from “near threatened” to “least concern.”
“Tuna species migrate across thousands of kilometres, so coordinating their management globally is also key,” Collette said.