The question of whether we are currently in an endangered or threatened area of a marine ecosystem has become increasingly important.
In the past several years, conservation groups and federal agencies have issued reports detailing the extent of the problem, and now the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is proposing a rule to update the status quo.
The NMFS proposal is intended to help the public better understand what areas are currently vulnerable to the threat of extinction and what areas could be considered as endangered or at risk of extinction.
The new rule would change the definition of “endangered” to include all species currently listed as endangered, including sharks and rays.
While the NMFS’ proposed rule does not change the current definition of endangered, it does make clear that species listed as threatened or endangered are considered endangered and are not currently protected.
This includes sharks and turtles.
Sharks and rays are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which also lists them as Critically Endangered, and they have been listed as such since the 1980s.
Under current federal law, the only way to legally designate a species as endangered is through a listing in the Federal Register, which requires a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
The NMFs proposed rule will update that requirement by requiring a petition that can be submitted to the FWS within 30 days of the end of each calendar year.
NMFS says the proposed rule would “provide guidance to states and localities regarding how to protect threatened and endangered species and how to manage the threats to these species.”
If it becomes law, that would mean the proposed NMFS rule would apply to the entire state of Hawaii and Hawaii’s waters, not just Hawaii’s islands.
The proposed rule also provides a process for states and counties to respond to threatened and extinct species, and it would create an additional process for listing endangered or critically endangered species in a particular state.
While this would be a significant step forward in the fight against marine biodiversity, it would not address the ongoing crisis of marine species extinction that continues to plague marine ecosystems.
The NOAA-led Marine Ecosystem Assessment has found that at least 571 species are listed by the IUCN as endangered by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including some species that are no longer considered endangered by scientific consensus.
The latest assessment found that about 80 percent of all the species that were listed as critically endangered in 2017 were already listed as extinct by the ESA.
As of June 2017, more than 4,000 species of marine mammals were listed in the ESA, including some that are endangered or extinct.
The Fish and Game Management Act of 1990 and the Endangerment Act of 1973 also have major impacts on marine ecosystems, as do many federal laws and regulations.
The U.K. government, for example, has been working on a marine biodiversity plan for decades, which would address both marine and terrestrial threats.
The report for the U,K.
National Marine Strategy, released last month, estimated that “overfishing, climate change, habitat loss, and the spread of invasive species, as well as the loss of ecosystem services through pollution and overfishing would significantly increase the vulnerability of marine ecosystems to extinction in the near future.”
A recent article in Scientific American described some of the challenges marine species face, including climate change and invasive species.
“The oceans are the most biologically diverse area on Earth, and its natural habitat is changing rapidly,” wrote Michael H. Brown, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in the article.
“By 2050, climate-related events will affect a large number of marine life species in the U!
S., and our ability to survive depends on managing this rapidly changing world.”
Brown wrote that “the potential for the ocean’s biota to become overfished and overgrazed if we do not take aggressive action is enormous.”
Brown also said that the “end of the world could be very, very near.”
To understand how the status of marine biodiversity is changing, it is helpful to look at what is known about the current state of our oceans.
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administrations Marine Ecoregion Plan, which is expected to be released in June 2017 by the NOAA, has identified several threats to marine biodiversity.
These threats include global warming, ocean acidification, overfishery and overharvesting, pollution, and overuse of pesticides.
Brown explained that the Ecoreggion Plan is designed to “provid[e] an overall view of the status and prospects of the ocean,” which includes “the threat posed to marine ecosystems by the current status of our human activities, the current threat to marine life, and their potential for protection.”
Brown explained, “The Ecoregbion Plan will provide the public with a snapshot of the current condition of the