Friday November 11, 2022

Courthouse News Service

Overfishing has been threatening the ocean ecosystem for almost as long as commercial fishing has existed, but despite modern attempts to hold back the loss of species and genetic biodiversity in our oceans, some species remain at risk. To measure and track the extent of damage, researchers have developed a continuous indicator for annual variations in marine health.

Maria José Juan-Jordá and colleagues present a Red List Index in the journal Science on Thursday that focuses on tuna, billfish and sharks. The index looks back all the way to the 1950s, assessing changes in extinction risk throughout the decades. The index is intended to be a robust and responsive guide for established fishery commissions and organizations internationally.

Juan-Jordá, lead author of the paper and coordinator of the project, explained in an interview, “They need indicators to monitor progress. The Red List Index is already a well established indicator, it’s already adopted by global processes, but it was not estimated for marine species. We are providing this global indicator so countries can use it to track progress and sustainability goals.”

The index was developed as a collaboration between the Basque Country based AZTI Technology Center, Simon Fraser University and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation.

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