This goal measures the conservation status of marine species.
A high score indicates that most native species in a given country are free from risk (invasive species are excluded), and it is 0 when up to 75% of native species are at high risk (this is a level comparable to prehistoric mass extinctions).
The current score indicates that many marine species are at risk and there is potential risk of losing a significant proportion of marine species diversity. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species estimates that 28% of all assessed species are in a threatened category.
Trends in the Species sub-goal are concerning. The global score has, on average, dropped nearly a third 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, only 16 regions show a stable or increasing trend for this subgoal, none of which have increased more than 1 point.
It is important to recognize that this score represents a small sample of existing marine biodiversity, since IUCN data currently only exists for 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 SPP subgoal is a result of improving IUCN Red List data across assessments. Since 2012, nearly 105,000 species have been added to the IUCN Red List assessment, many of which are classified into a threatened category.
Over the ten years of OHI assessments, Libya has seen the largest decline in species score, dropping by 6 points. This is a concerning trend, especially considering that Libya has the third worst species subgoal score for 2021. Over the past 10 years, only 4% 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 7% of the assessed species being data deficient, and nearly 50% with unknown population trends.
Chile, on the other hand, has seen a small increase in species score (+1 point) across the 10 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.