Photo/Illutration From left: Abalone species called Haliotis discus discus, Haliotis gigantea and Haliotis madaka are now listed as “endangered” in the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Three species of abalone found in waters around Japan are now on the Red List of threatened plants and animals issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

Overfishing, poaching and climate change were cited as primary causes.

Varieties known scientifically as Haliotis discus discus, Haliotis gigantea and Haliotis madaka were listed Dec. 10 as “endangered” in the updated document of the Swiss-based organization on wild creatures in danger of going extinct.

It warned the three shellfish were likely to vanish soon. As such, they come under the second most serious category on the three-grade scale of threatened animals.

While inclusion in the list places no direct legal restrictions on designated variants’ commercial trade, the designation is expected to serve as a catalyst for future scientific data discussions on the international sale of wild animals and plants under the Washington Convention and in other forums.

After the Japanese eel was given endangered listing in 2014, four nations and regions, including Japan, tightened their controls of the variety by imposing a ceiling on the number of eels supplied to farming pools, along with other steps.

The listing marks the first time abalone have been evaluated. The IUCN stressed that 20 of the surveyed 54 species worldwide are at risk of vanishing. 

The nation’s natural abalone catch fell from 6,466 tons in 1970 to 669 tons in 2020, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

In fiscal 2021, it designated the three abalone varieties as endangered oceanic resources requiring special care.

Despite nationwide efforts to restock local waters with young abalone, no significant recovery in natural numbers has emerged.

The IUCN warned that releasing juvenile abalone may in fact destroy wild resources, pointing to the probability of pathogens generated through fry farming processes entering the natural environment when they are released.

Following the latest update, 42,108 species worldwide are now considered to be threatened with extinction.

The Japanese giant salamander, which is indigenous to this country, was upgraded from the “near threatened” category to the third most severe “vulnerable” division under the classification of threatened varieties.