Abalone listed as endangered on global Red List

Courtesy of Chiba Prefecture
The Japanese abalone

Several abalone species, including three found in waters around Japan, have been added to the Red List of threatened plants and animals.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an organization of governments and environmental groups, released the latest edition of its Red List on Saturday.

The abalone species, prized as seafood such as in sashimi and in New Year’s dishes, are listed as “endangered.”

The three species found near Japan are the Japanese abalone, the giant abalone and the madaka-awabi. The IUCN, evaluating the shellfish for the first time, noted that their catches have been declining due to overfishing, rising sea temperatures, and declining reproductive capacity caused by chemical pollution. The decline in seaweed, which abalone feed on, has also had an impact.

Abalone is also distributed as a luxury food overseas and 20 of the world’s abalone species are listed as in danger of extinction.

The Japanese giant salamander, one of the world’s largest amphibians, has been downgraded one level from “near threatened” to the more serious “vulnerable.” It was designated by Japan as a “Special Natural Monument” in 1952, but there are concerns that the native species is declining due to hybridization with non-native species imported from China for food.

The latest version of the Red List is being presented at the 15th meeting of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity being held in Montreal through Dec. 17.

Courtesy of Kyoto Aquarium
The Japanese giant salamander