From Dive Magazine:
Corals have been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species for the first time, as the World Conservation Union declares that more than 30 per cent of marine species on its list are at risk of extinction.
Ten Galapagos coral species have entered the IUCN list, with two in the critically endangered category and one in the vulnerable section. El Niño and climate change have been blamed. The 2007 Red List also saw both the spiny angelshark and smoothback angelsharks, found in the deep-water areas of the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic, move from endangered to critically endangered.
The Banggai cardinalfish, found near Sulawesi, Indonesia, has also entered the endangered category for the first time. It is estimated that up to 900,000 Banggai cardinalfish are fished from the reefs every year. The IUCN World Conservation Union said overfishing continues to put pressure on many fish species, together with the demand from the aquarium trade.
Carl Gustaf Lundin, head of the IUCN global marine programme, said: ‘The rate of species loss in the world’s oceans will continue, and at accelerated pace, if serious actions aren’t undertaken to overcome the ocean’s crisis. Habitat destruction, pollution, climate change and other human-induced disturbances explain why biodiversity is disappearing.
‘However, over-fishing and destructive fishing practices represent by far the biggest threat to the marine environment. Fishing operations, from local, often illegal, dynamite fishing to large-scale industrial fishing, have devastating effects and will lead to further extinctions.’
For more information about the IUCN Red List, see the World Conservation Union website at www.iucnredlist.org.