IUCN calls Pacific bluefin tuna 'Near Threatened'

NHK -- Sep 06
An international group of wildlife experts has downgraded the risk of extinction for Pacific bluefin tuna by one notch.

But it is still urging countries to continue to commit to sustainable fishing practices, saying that the stock remains severely depleted due to overfishing that continued for many years.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, released the latest Red List of Threatened Species on Saturday at a news conference in Marseille. The group is holding a general assembly in the southern French city.

The group said the Pacific bluefin tuna has moved from "Vulnerable" to "Near Threatened" in the update due to the availability of newer stock assessment data.

The Vulnerable category includes species considered to be at high risk of extinction in the wild. Near Threatened means that the species is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future.

The conservation group has also revised its risk assessment for the world's largest living lizard, the Komodo dragon in Indonesia, from Vulnerable to Endangered. The assessment indicates that the animal is considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction.

The group warned that rising global temperature and subsequent sea levels are expected to reduce the species' suitable habitat by at least 30 percent in the next 45 years.