A new report to the US Congress from the National Marine Fisheries Service, Recovering Threatened and Endangered Species, updates progress made on its strategic approach to endangered species recovery that focuses agency resources on species for which immediate, targeted efforts are needed to stabilize their populations and prevent extinction. The report highlights progress made on recovery efforts for the eight species identified in the Species in the Spotlight initiative. The best available information points to their extinction in the near future because of rapid population decline or habitat destruction. These species need focused human intervention to stabilize their population declines and prevent their extinction. During the 2 years covered in this report (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2016), the number of listed species under NMFS jurisdiction increased 18%. During that period, NMFS managed 93 domestic species of salmon, sturgeon, sawfish, seagrass, mollusks, sea turtles, corals, and marine mammals, and 54 foreign species.
The report addresses 87 domestic species for which a recovery plan was found to promote its conservation, including 10 newly listed domestic species:
-3 Humpback Whale Distinct Population Segments (DPSs) (2 foreign for total 5 listed): Central America and Western North Pacific DPSs listed as endangered and Mexico DPS listed as threatened on September 8, 2016 (81 FR 62259)
– 6 Green sea turtle DPSs (5 foreign for total 11 listed): Eastern Pacific, Central North Pacific, North Atlantic, and South Atlantic DPSs listed as threatened and Central West Pacific and Central South Pacific DPSs listed as endangered on April 2, 2016 (81 FR 20057)
-Nassau Grouper listed as threatened on June 29, 2016 (81 FR 42268).
Between October 1, 2014, and September 30, 2016, of the 87 domestic listed species for which a recovery plan was found to promote its conservation, 44 had final recovery plans, 3 had a draft recovery plan, 19 plans were in development, and 21 species recovery plans had not been started.
Between October 1, 2014, and September 30, 2016, the status of the 87 domestic endangered or threatened species for which recovery plans have or will be developed was:
• 27 (31%) were stabilized or increasing.
• 16 (18%) were known to be declining.
• 12 (14%) were mixed, with their status varying by population location.
• 32 (37%) were unknown, because we lacked sufficient trend data to make a determination Since the 2012-2014 Biennial Report on status of population trends, these percentages reflect a 4% increase in declining trends; a 3% decrease in increasing trends; a 5% increase in mixed trends; and a 6% decrease in unknown trends.
Additional information on these species is available online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/index.htm.