12 Percent of Species in Tropical Eastern Pacific Threatened With Extinction

leatherback turtle photo© Rod Mast

In recent years, 20 marine species have gone extinct around the world and 133 local populations of marine species have disappeared. The losses have been spread across the globe and species types, and have included commercial fish, coral species, marine grasses, and more. According to a new survey, however, the tropical waters of the Eastern Pacific may represent the next epicenter for marine extinctions.

According to a study by the IUCN, 12 percent of marine species in the Gulf of California, the coasts of Panama and Costa Rica, and the five offshore oceanic islands and archipelagos in the tropical eastern Pacific are threatened with extinction.

“Understanding species vulnerability to major threats is paramount for determining how species and marine environments are likely to respond to one or more simultaneous threats,” explained Beth Polidoro, who was the lead author of the study, “identification of threatened species and patterns of threat in the tropical eastern Pacific region can help guide local and regional marine conservation priorities for biodiversity conservation, as well as serve to inform policy.”

giant sea bass photo© D Ross Robertson

Two of the species, the Totoaba and Giant Sea Bass, are commercial fish that were labeled "critically endangered."

“Saving threatened species is the single most important thing we can do to safeguard ocean health," said Scott Henderson, Regional Director of Marine Conservation at Conservation International, "which benefits millions of people that depend on thriving and productive oceans."

The findings reinforce the need for more extensive conservation measures in the region. Better management of fisheries, preservation of delicate mangrove ecosystems, and more detailed data are initiatives recommended by the report.

12 Percent of Species in Tropical Eastern Pacific Threatened With Extinction
According to a new survey led by the IUCN, the conservation situation in the tropical waters on the Eastern Pacific is dire.

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