As the Red List Authority for marine turtles, one of the MTSG’s primary responsibilities is the completion of Red List Assessments for each of the seven marine turtle species. These exhaustive status reviews, which are revised every 5-10 years, draw on the group’s collective expertise and available data to assess the risk of extinction of each species using categories and criteria developed by the IUCN Red List Programme.
Internally, this process is overseen by the MTSG Red List Focal Point, Dr. Bryan Wallace, who leads an Assessment Steering Committee (ASC) that guides the completion of all assessments.
The Red List Process
Each Red List Assessment undergoes many stages of review and revision before inclusion in the official IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Within the MTSG, each species assessment is assigned to an assessor, or assessors, who draft(s) the assessment using the categories and criteria developed by IUCN. The draft assessment is then submitted to the MTSG’s Red List Focal Point, who coordinates a preliminary review of the draft by the ASC and by select MTSG members, as needed. The draft then undergoes preliminary revision and is re-submitted to the ASC for approval prior to sending to the entire MTSG membership. At this stage, the draft is then made available to all MTSG members during a specified member review and comment period. All comments are considered by the assessor(s) and the ASC, and revisions are made to the draft as deemed necessary. Ultimately, a final draft is submitted back to the ASC for approval, and when approved, the MTSG Red List Focal Point submits the assessment to the IUCN Species Programme for final review and inclusion in the IUCN Red List. For more information on IUCN’s process for Red List Assessments, visit the Red List Programme website.
Through this process, each species is ultimately assigned to a category based on its estimated risk of extinction as defined by the Red List criteria. The categories are: Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened, Least Concern, Data Deficient, and Not Evaluated. For more information on these categories visit the Red List Programme website.
The seven marine turtle species are currently assessed as follows (click the links to view the current Red List Assessment):
- Loggerhead (Caretta caretta): Vulnerable [Global]
- Mediterranean Subpopulation (Least Concern)
- North East Atlantic Subpopulation (Endangered)
- North East Indian Ocean Subpopulation (Critically Endangered)
- North Pacific Ocean Subpopulation (Least Concern)
- North West Atlantic Ocean Subpopulation (Least Concern)
- North West Indian Ocean Subpopulation (Critically Endangered)
- South East Indian Ocean Subpopulation (Near Threatened)
- South Pacific Ocean Subpopulation (Critically Endangered)
- South West Atlantic Subpopulation (Least Concern)
- South West Indian Ocean Subpopulation (Near Threatened)
- Green turtle (Chelonia mydas): Endangered [Global]
- Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea): Vulnerable [Global]
- East Pacific Ocean Subpopulation: Critically Endangered
- Northeast Indian Ocean Subpopulation: Data Deficient
- Northwest Atlantic Ocean Subpopulation: Endangered
- Southeast Atlantic Ocean Subpopulation: Data Deficient
- Southwest Atlantic Ocean Subpopulation: Critically Endangered
- Southwest Indian Ocean Subpopulation: Critically Endangered
- West Pacific Ocean Subpopulation: Critically Endangered
- Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata): Critically Endangered
- Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii): Critically Endangered
- Olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea): Vulnerable
- Flatback (Natator depressus): Data Deficient