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Proactive Conservation Program: Species of Concern

Background | Species of Concern List | Contacts | Grant Program | Grants and Technical Resources/Links

  bluefin tuna
Bluefin Tuna
(Thunnus thynnus)
Photo: NOAA

Species of Concern are those species about which NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has some concerns regarding status and threats, but for which insufficient information is available to indicate a need to list the species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We wish to draw proactive attention and conservation action to these species. "Species of concern" status does not carry any procedural or substantive protections under the ESA.

Funding for projects led by state and territory management agencies is available through our Proactive Species Conservation Grant Program.

Additional funding for NOAA biologists working as Principal Investigators on projects implementing research or conservation measures to improve the status of Species of Concern is available through our Internal Grant Program.

The Species of Concern list:

  • Identifies species potentially at risk;
  • Identifies data deficiencies and uncertainties in species' status and threats;
  • Increases public awareness about those species;
  • Stimulates cooperative research efforts to obtain the information necessary to evaluate species status and threats; and,
  • Fosters voluntary efforts to conserve the species before listing becomes warranted.

A printable, color program brochure [pdf] is available for download.

Annual Reports:

For more biological and ecological information on Species of Concern, please follow the links below.

Species of Concern List
Fact sheets for each species are provided on the links below. A separate list of species removed from the SOC list is also available on our website.

Note: Species of concern can also be "candidate species".

Species Candidate Area of Concern
  Gulf of Mexico-AL, FL, anadromous
  Atlantic-Newfoundland to North Carolina
(Negative 12-month finding to list under the ESA, 78 FR 48943)
  Western Atlantic, Eastern Atlantic, and Mediterranean stocks
  Atlantic-Labrador to southern New England
  Atlantic-Georges Bank and western Gulf of Maine
(former "candidate species" - 2009)
  Pacific-Eastern North Pacific population
  Atlantic-Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to St. John's River, FL
(Negative 12-month finding to list under the ESA, 78 FR 48943)
  Pacific-Southern DPS (Northern CA to Mexico)*
  Indo-Pacific-Red Sea and East Africa to the Line Islands and Samoa; north to Yaeyama, south to the Great Barrier Reef and New Caledonia; Paulau, Caroline, Mariana in Micronesia; in U.S. it occurs in Guam, American Samoa, CNMI and the Pacific Remote Island Areas (Wake Islands)
  Pacific-Central Valley, fall and late fall-run ESU
  Pacific-Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia ESU; anadromous.
  Pacific-Central OR to central Baja California and Guadalupe Island, Mexico
  • cusk
    (Brosme brosme)
candidate species checkmark Atlantic-Gulf of Maine
(Candidate species as of 03/09/2007 [pdf]; 72 FR 10710)
  Atlantic; Gulf of Mexico; Pacific
  Pacific- Point Concepcion, CA to Bahia de Magdalena, Gulf of CA, Mexico
  Pacific-northern DPS* (including coastal spawning populations from the Eel River north, to the Klamath rivers); anadromous
candidate species checkmark
Pacific- Hawaii (Kaneohe Bay, Midway Atoll, Maro Reef)
(Proposed for ESA Listing, 12/07/2012)
candidate species checkmark
Indo-Pacific-Red Sea to the Tuamotus, north to the Ryukyus, east to Wake Islands, south to New Caledonia, throughout Micronesia; includes U.S. territories of Guam and American Samoa
(Candidate species as of 02/28/2013; 78 FR 13614)
  Pacific- Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay
  Atlantic- West Indies, Bermuda, NC, FL, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean
  Atlantic-Florida Keys
  Atlantic-FL, estuarine
candidate species checkmark Atlantic-NC southward to Gulf of Mexico
(Candidate species as of 10/10/2012; 77 FR 61559)
  Atlantic-Florida (Indian River Lagoon)
  Salish Sea population, WA, Canada
  Pacific-Georgia Basin DPS
  Pacific- Point Concepcion, CA to Bahia de Tortuga, Gulf of CA, Mexico
  Pacific- Sitka, AK to Point Conception, CA
  Atlantic, Newfoundland, Canada to New Jersey
  Atlantic-Labrador to NJ; anadromous
  North Pacific Ocean and adjacent parts of the Arctic Ocean*
  Atlantic; Gulf of Mexico
  Atlantic-NC to Gulf of Mexico
(90-Day Finding on Petition to List; ESA-Listing Not Warranted [pdf]; 77 FR 25687)
  Pacific-OR Coast ESU; anadromous
  Atlantic-FL, Antilles and Caribbean from Costa Rica to Guyana
  Atlantic-West Greenland to NY
  Atlantic-MA southward to Gulf of Mexico
(90-Day Finding of Petition to List Warsaw Grouper; ESA-Listing Not Warranted [pdf]; 75 FR 59690)

* NMFS reviewed the status of this species as a result of a petition to list it under the Endangered Species Act. While ESA listing was determined to not be warranted, NMFS retained this species on the Species of Concern list.

Updated: November 14, 2013

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