Marine species have long been considered resilient to extinction because they have widespread distributional ranges and are abundant. We know now that this myth of ocean invincibility has been shattered, with marine species extinctions recorded since the beginning of the Holocene. The rates of exploitation and habitat destruction are only expected to increase and intensify as food sources become more depleted. Hundreds of marine species are threatened with extinction, and it is clear that marine biodiversity is experiencing potentially irreversible degradation.
This workshop would address knowledge gaps in the conservation of threatened marine species by bringing together partners and members of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, including several Species Specialist Groups and Red List Authorities, to share knowledge on the conservation status of key marine species. Presentations and discussions would also highlight the Red List Initiatives currently forged between the IUCN Species Programme - Marine Biodiversity Unit (MBU) and the IUCN Regional Offices in Oceania and the Mediterranean.
During the last World Conservation Congress (WCC) in 2008, the MBU had assessed 4,494 species under Red List Criteria; and is expected to have assessed more than 10,800 marine species by the WCC meeting in 2012. Information presented on the status of these species will enable participants to discuss existing conservation policies and to identify conservation practices that need to be in place in order to prevent further species loss. Additionally, participants will work together to identify regions and species groups that should be priorities for new IUCN Red List assessments. By fostering new relationships and alliances, the findings from this workshop will hopefully solidify the need to counter the rate of marine biodiversity decline and encourage collaborative support for marine species conservation efforts around the world.