Threat and decline in fishes: An indicator of marine biodiversity

Nicholas K. Dulvy, Simon Jennings, Stuart I. Rogers, David L. Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Recent policy commitments aim to reduce biodiversity loss and integrate environmental concerns into fisheries management. However, there are few operational indicators for reporting biodiversity trends and judging progress in relation to management objectives. Here we develop a threat indicator based on the population status of a suite of 23 North Sea fishes from 1982 to 2001 estimated using World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List decline criteria. The composite indicator was calculated from the weighted average of the threat scores of individual species in each year and varies from 0 to 3, where a score of 3 is equivalent to each species qualifying as "critically endangered". The proportion of threatened fishes, their degree of threat, and the composite indicator value increased steadily over time. The composite indicator value has been >1 since the late 1990s, equivalent to all species meeting the "vulnerable" criterion. A suitable reference trajectory, consistent with the World Summit on Sustainable Development commitment to "achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss" would be a significant reduction in the rate of increase in this indicator before 2010, a limit reference point could be 1 (all species vulnerable) and a target reference point could be 0 (no threatened species).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1275
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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