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IUCN Red List Status

The conservation status and extinction risk of marine fishes was assessed at the European level.

7.5% of these species (excluding those assessed as Not Applicable) are considered threatened (i.e., assessed as having an elevated risk of extinction) in Europe. However, the proportion of threatened marine fish species is uncertain given the high number of Data Deficient (DD) species, and could lie between 6% (if all DD species are not threatened) and 26.6% (if all DD species are threatened) for Europe (IUCN 2011b). Thus, the mid-point figures provide the best estimation of the proportion of threatened species (IUCN 2011b).

In Europe, 15 species (1.5%) are Critically Endangered, 22 species (2.2%) are Endangered, and 22 species (2.2%) are Vulnerable. A further 2.6% (26 species) are classified as Near Threatened. For a fifth of the species in Europe (204 species, 20.6%), there were insufficient data to evaluate their risk of extinction and so they were classified as Data Deficient. As more data become available, it is possible that some of these species may also prove to be threatened.

Proportion of threatened marine fishes in Europe

% threat

Lower bound
(CR+EN+VU) / (assessed – EX)

6.0%

Mid-point
(CR+EN+VU) / (assessed – EX – DD)

7.5%

Upper bound
(CR+EN+VU+DD) / (assessed – EX)

26.6%

 

Summary of numbers of marine fish species within each category of threat

IUCN Red List Categories

Number of species (number of endemics)

Extinct (EX)

0

Extinct in the Wild (EW)

0

Regionally Extinct (RE)

0

Critically Endangered (CR)

15 (2)

Endangered (EN)

22 (4)

Vulnerable (VU)

22 (2)

Near Threatened (NT)

26 (3)

Least Concern (LC)

699 (120)

Data Deficient (DD)

204 (53)

Total number of species assessed*

988 (184)

*This table does not include the Not Applicable species in Europe (232 species) (species introduced after AD 1500 or species of marginal occurrence).

IUCN Red List status of marine fishes in Europe.

Status by taxonomic group

European marine fishes assessed as part of the European Red List of Marine Fishes belong to three classes divided into 38 orders. The table below presents the status of these species by class and order.

Overall, the Chondrichthyes is the class showing the highest percentage of threatened species (40.4%), compared to the Actinopterygii, with 2.5% threatened, and the Myxini, where all three species are considered Least Concern (LC). In general, high rates of intrinsic extinction risk in marine species are related to large-bodied, slow maturing species (Reynolds et al. 2005). As a group, Chondrichthyes are inherently more sensitive to threats than other marine fishes due to their extreme life histories, low population growth rates and weak density-dependent compensation in juvenile survival (e.g., Dulvy and Forrest 2010, Dulvy et al. 2014).

It is worth noting that all 15 of the Critically Endangered marine fishes and 15 of the 22 Endangered species are chondrichthyans. Within the Chondrichthyes, all the Squatiniformes are threatened with extinction and the Lamniformes, Squaliformes, and Rajiformes also show a high proportion of threatened species (87.5%, 55.6% and 36.2%, respectively). The Carcharhiniformes and the Squaliformes include many Data Deficient (DD) species (10 and 9, respectively).

The Actinopterygii, the class with the highest number of species, includes the Salmoniformes and the Beryciformes species, showing the highest percentage of threat (100% - as Salmo salar is assessed as Vulnerable, and 16.7%, respectively). The other threatened species are included in the following orders: Pleuronectiformes (6.1%), Scorpaeniformes (5.7%), Perciformes (3.4%) and Gadiformes (3.2%).

The Actinopterygii includes a large percentage of LC species (75.9%), especially in the Perciformes order. Likewise, this class also includes a great proportion of DD species (20.7%). All the Cetomimiformes are assessed as DD, and the Zeiformes and Saccopharyngiformes present a high proportion of DD species (80% and 60%, respectively). Species in these orders are typically found in the deep-sea, where limited surveys and research have resulted in major data gaps. It is worth highlighting that approximately half of the Tetraodontiformes, Syngnathiformes and Ophidiiformes are also classed as DD, often due to a small number of known specimens and taxonomic uncertainty.

IUCN Red List status (at the European level) of marine fishes by class and order.

Class

Order

Total

CR

EN

VU

NT

LC

DD

% threatened*

Actinopterygii

854

0

5

12

12

648

177

2.5 (2 - 22.7)

Anguilliformes

45

0

0

0

0

31

14

0 (0 - 31.3)

Ateleopodiformes

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Atheriniformes

2

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

Aulopiformes

27

0

0

0

0

24

3

0 (0 -11.1)

Batrachoidiformes

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Beloniformes

14

0

0

0

0

14

0

0

Beryciformes

6

0

0

1

2

3

0

16.7 (16.7 - 16.7)

Cetomimiformes

3

0

0

0

0

0

3

0 (0 - 100)

Clupeiformes

7

0

0

0

1

5

1

0 (0 - 14.3)

Gadiformes

76

0

1

1

1

59

14

3.2 (2.6 - 21.1)

Gasterosteiformes

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Gobiesociformes

11

0

0

0

0

9

2

0 (0 - 18.2)

Lampriformes

6

0

0

0

0

6

0

0

Lophiiformes

26

0

0

0

0

15

11

0 (0 - 42.3)

Mugiliformes

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Myctophiformes

29

0

0

0

0

29

0

0

Notacanthiformes

8

0

0

0

0

8

0

0

Ophidiiformes

28

0

0

0

0

14

14

0 (0 - 50)

Osmeriformes

59

0

0

0

0

37

22

0 (0 - 37.3)

Perciformes

297

0

3

6

6

247

35

3.4 (3 - 14.8)

Pleuronectiformes

41

0

0

2

1

30

8

6.1 (4.9 - 24.4)

Polymixiiformes

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Saccopharyngiformes

5

0

0

0

0

2

3

0

Salmoniformes

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

100

Scorpaeniformes

56

0

1

1

1

32

21

5.7 (3.6 - 41.1)

Stephanoberyciformes

3

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

Stomiiformes

62

0

0

0

0

57

5

0 (0 - 8.1)

Syngnathiformes

17

0

0

0

0

8

9

0 (0 - 52.9)

Tetraodontiformes

15

0

0

0

0

7

8

0 (0 - 53.3)

Zeiformes

5

0

0

0

0

1

4

0 (0 - 80)

Chondrichthyes

131

15

17

10

14

48

27

40.4 (32.1 - 52.7)

Carcharhiniformes

27

0

2

3

4

8

10

29.4 (18.5 - 55.6)

Chimaeriformes

9

0

0

0

1

8

0

0

Hexanchiformes

4

0

0

0

0

2

2

0 (0 – 50)

Lamniformes

11

4

3

0

0

1

3

87.5 (63.6 - 90)

Rajiformes

50

7

5

5

7

23

3

36.2 (34 - 40)

Squaliformes

27

1

7

2

2

6

9

55.6 (37 - 70.4)

Squatiniformes

3

3

0

0

0

0

0

100

Myxini

3

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

Myxiniformes

3

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

Total

 

988

15

22

22

26

699

204

7.5 (6 - 26.6)

This table does not include species classed as Not Applicable (NA).
*The percentage of threatened species provides the mid point figure, as the best estimation of extinction risk; the lower and upper bounds are provided in brackets.