This goal measures the conservation status of marine species.


A high score indicates that most native marine species in a country are not identified as threatened or vulnerable by the IUCN which monitors the status of many species.

The current score indicates a potential risk of losing a significant proportion of marine species diversity across the globe. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species estimates that 35% of all assessed species are threatened with extinction, including 37% of species of sharks and rays.

Trends in the Species subgoal are concerning. The global score has, on average, dropped nearly a quarter of a point every year since 2012. This decline lines up with results from the Red List Index, which shows a clear decreasing trend across all major species groups. In fact, for the 2022 OHI assessment, only 14 regions out of 220 show an increasing trend for this subgoal.

The region with the most negative trend is Monaco in Western Europe. This region is the second smallest and most densely populated region in the world, resulting in an extremely urban landscape with little room for flora and fauna to thrive (Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)). Furthermore, this region has fallen victim to extreme marine pollution and several invasive species (CBD). The famous annual car race held here, the Monaco Grand Prix, likely contributes to this pollution as it attracts heavy marine vessel traffic in the harbor. Since 2010, this region began taking steps towards improving their marine biodiversity by establishing the Monaco Blue Initiative, a platform to discuss ocean management and socioeconomic development (Monaco Blue Initiative). Hopefully this annual initiative will improve infrastructure and Monaco Species goal scores will improve in future OHI assessments.

Libya has also seen one of the largest decline in species score, dropping by 8 percentage points. This is a concerning trend, especially considering that Libya has the third worst Species subgoal score for 2022. Over the past 11 years, only 5% of the species assessed in Libya have increasing population trends, while 25% are decreasing, according to the IUCN Red List. However, there still remain many data gaps with nearly 50% with unknown population trends.

The region with the most positive trend is Bouvet Island, a Norwegian territory. Bouvet Island and its surrounding waters were protected in 1971, establishing the region as the world’s most remote nature preserve (Norwegian Polar Institute). Being an uninhabited island with an extremely icy climate certainly contributes to Bouvet Island’s impressive trend in the Species subgoal because there is a substantial reduction in tourism and invasive species transport (Britannica).

Of the regions with permanent human residents, the Falkland Islands have seen the largest increase in the Species subgoal since 2012 (+1 percentage point). Chile is not far behind with an increase of three fourths of a point across the 11 years of OHI assessments. Since 2011, 76% of the species in Chile have been classified as “Least Concern”, and nearly equal amounts of those species have increasing and decreasing population trends. This lines up with the small increasing trend that we see in Chile for the species subgoal.

It is important to recognize that this score represents a small sample of existing marine biodiversity because the IUCN only assesses a small percentage of known marine species. Moreover, there are likely many more species that exist but have not yet been described. This means that a part of the decline we see in the Species subgoal is a result of improving IUCN Red List data across assessments. Since 2012, approximately 82,000 species have been added to the IUCN Red List assessment, many of which are classified into a threatened category.

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