SIMoN
  Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Special Status Species

The populations of some species - such as krill and jellies - are thriving in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. However, other species have population sizes that are reduced or declining. Reduced or declining populations may be the result of human exploitation, habitat degradation, disease, environmental change or a combination of these factors. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (Sanctuary), through its research, education, and resource management programs, has the ability to improve the status of species with reduced or declining populations.

As a necessary first step, the Sanctuary identified the species of special status based on listings by other state, federal, and international agencies and organizations. This information will be used to determine which management actions the Sanctuary can implement to support the recovery of each species. SIMoN staff compiled this information as part of the "Special Status Species Project".

The first phase of this project involved compiling a list of all the species occurring in Sanctuary waters that are designated by a variety of resource management agencies and conservation groups as having special status. For example, species that have been designated as Endangered or Threatened under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts, or species that have been added to the watch lists of organizations such as Audubon Society or the World Conservation Union. The tables below provide a list of special status species in the Sanctuary as well as information about which agencies and organizations have included the species (or the local population/stock) on their watch lists. If you would like to know more about the listing agencies and terms used, click on the "?" symbols in the table.

A second, on-going phase of this project involves creating status reports for each species. A species status report covers a variety of topics including geographic range, abundance, migration patterns, threats, current research projects, conservation efforts and management actions the Sanctuary can implement to improve species recovery. The recommended actions may include supporting additional research projects to fill knowledge gaps or providing education outreach programs with information to increase public awareness of at risk populations and the habitats they utilize. All the material compiled for this project, including status reports, links to maps, photos, videos, and educational materials, are available by clicking on the species names in the table below. Status reports are continually being added to this site, so please check back periodically.

Federal State NGO International
Organism ESA (?) MMPA (?) CESA; DFG (?) IUCN (?) CITES (?) CMS (?)
Sei whale
Balaenoptera borealis
(E. North Pacific stock)
Endangered Depleted;
Strategic
-- Endangered
(world-wide)
App.I App.I,
App.II
Blue whale
Balaenoptera musculus musculus(Eastern N. Pacific stock)
Endangered Depleted; Strategic -- Endangered App.I App.I
Fin whale
Balaenoptera physalus
(CA-OR-WA stock)
Endangered Depleted; Strategic -- Endangered
(world-wide)
App.I App.I,
App.II
Humpback whale
Megaptera novaeangliae
(Eastern N. Pacific stock)
Endangered Depleted; Strategic -- Least
Concern
App.I App.I
Gray whale
Eschrichtius robustus
(Eastern N. Pacific stock)
Delisted
(06-15-94)
Non-strategic -- Least
Concern
App.I --
North Pacific right whale
Eubalaena japonica
Endangered Depleted; Strategic Fully
Protected
Endangered App.I App.I
Sperm whale
Physeter macrocephalus
(CA-OR-WA stock)
Endangered Depleted; Strategic -- Vulnerable
(world-wide)
App.I App.I,
App.II
Killer whale
Orcinus orca
(Eastern N. Pacific Southern Resident population)
Endangered Depleted; Strategic -- Data
Deficient
App.II App.II
Short-finned pilot whale
Globicephala macrorhynchus
(CA/OR/WA stock)
-- Non-strategic -- Data
Deficient
App.I --
Baird's beaked whale
Berardius bairdii
(CA-OR-WA stock)
-- Non-strategic -- Data
Deficient
App.I App.II
Beaked whales
Mesoplodon spp.
(CA-OR-WA stocks)
-- Non-strategic -- Data
Deficient
(world-wide)
App.II --
Cuvier's beaked whale
Ziphius cavirostris
(CA-OR-WA stock)
-- Non-strategic -- Least
Concern
App.II --
Harbor Porpoise
Phocoena phocoena
(San Francisco-Russian River stock)
-- Non-strategic -- Least
Concern
App.II
Harbor Porpoise
Phocoena phocoena
(Monterey Bay stock)
-- Non-strategic -- Least
Concern
App.II
Harbor Porpoise
Phocoena phocoena
(Morro Bay stock)
-- Non-strategic -- Least
Concern
App.II
Steller sea lion
Eumetopias jubatus
(Eastern stock)
Threatened Depleted; Strategic -- Endangered
(world-wide)
-- --
Guadalupe fur seal
Arctocephalus townsendi
Threatened Depleted; Strategic Threatened;
Fully
Protected
Near
Threatened
App.I --
Northern fur seal
Callorhinus ursinus
(San Miguel Island stock)
-- Non-strategic -- Vulnerable
(world-wide)
-- --
Northern elephant seal
Mirounga angustirostris
-- Non-strategic Fully Protected Least
Conern
-- --
Southern sea otter
Enhydra lutris nereis
Threatened Depleted; Strategic Fully Protected Endangered App.I --
Federal State NGO International
Organism ESA; FWS (?) CESA; CDFG; CDF (?) IUCN (?) Audubon WatchList (?) CITES (?) CMS (?)
Common Loon
Gavia immer
-- Spp. Special
Concern
Least
Concern
-- -- --
Clark's Grebe
Aechmophorous clarkii
-- -- Least
Concern
Yellow -- --
Short-Tailed Albatross
Phoebastria albatrus
Endangered Spp. Special
Concern
Vulnerable Red App.I App.I
Laysan Albatross
Phoebastria immutabilis
-- -- Vulnerable Red -- App.II
Black-Footed Albatross
Phoebastria nigripes
BCC -- Endangered Red -- App.II
Buller's Shearwater
Puffinus bulleri
-- -- Vulnerable Yellow -- --
Pink-footed Shearwater
Puffinus creatopus
BCC -- Vulnerable Red -- App.I
Sooty Shearwater
Puffinus griseus
-- -- Near
Threatened
Yellow -- --
Black-Vented Shearwater
Puffinus opisthomelas
BCC -- Near Threatened Red -- --
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel
Oceanodroma furcata
-- Spp. Special
Concern
Least
Concern
-- -- --
Ashy Storm-Petrel
Oceanodroma homochroa
BCC Spp. Special
Concern
Endangered Red -- --
Black Storm-petrel
Oceanodroma melania
-- Spp. Special
Concern
Least
Concern
Red -- --
American White Pelican
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
-- Spp. Special
Concern
Least
Concern
-- -- --
California Brown Pelican
Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Delisted
12-17-09
Delisted; Fully
Protected
Least
Concern (full species)
-- -- --
Least Bittern
Ixobrychius exilis
-- Spp. Special
Concern
Least
Concern
-- -- --
Great Egret
Ardea alba
-- Sensitive Least
Concern
-- -- --
Great Blue Heron
Ardea herodias
-- Sensitive Least
Concern
-- -- --
Harlequin Duck
Histrionicus histrionicus
-- Spp. Special
Concern
Least
Concern
-- -- --
California Black Rail
Laterallus jamaicensis coturniculus
BCC Threatened; Fully
Protected
Near Threatened
(full species)
Red -- --
California Clapper Rail
Rallus longirostris obsoletus
Endangered Endangered; Fully
Protected
Least
Concern (full species)
Yellow -- --
Western Snowy Plover
Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus
Threatened Spp. Special
Concern
Least
Concern (full species)
Yellow -- App.II
Surfbird
Aphriza virgata
-- -- Least
Concern
Yellow -- --
Black Turnstone
Arenaria melanocephala
-- -- Least
Concern
Yellow -- --
Sanderling
Calidris alba
-- -- Least
Concern
Yellow -- --
Red Knot
Calidris canutus
BCC -- Least
Concern
Yellow -- App.I,
App.II
Western Sandpiper
Calidiris mauri
-- -- Least
Concern
Yellow -- --
Black Oystercatcher
Haematopus bachmani
BCC -- Least
Concern
-- -- --
Short-Billed Dowitcher
Limnodromus griseus
BCC -- Least
Concern
-- -- --
Marbled Godwit
Limosa fedoa
BCC -- Least
Concern
Yellow -- --
Long-Billed Curlew
Numenius americanus
BCC -- Least
Concern
Yellow -- --
Whimbrel
Numenius phaeopus
BCC -- Least
Concern
-- -- App.II
Heermann's Gull
Larus heermanni
-- -- Near Threatened Yellow -- --
California Least Tern
Sterna antillarum browni
Endangered Endangered; Fully
Protected
Least
Concern (full species)
Red (full species) -- --
Elegant Tern
Sterna elegans
-- -- Near Threatened Yellow -- --
Black Skimmer
Rynchops niger
BCC Spp. Special
Concern
Least
Concern
Yellow -- --
Marbled Murrelet
Brachyramphus marmoratus
Threatened Endangered;
Sensitive
Endangered Yellow -- --
Rhinoceros Auklet^
Cerorhinca monocerata
-- -- Least
Concern
-- -- --
Tufted Puffin
Fratercula cirrhata
-- Spp. Special
Concern
Least
Concern
-- -- --
Cassin's Auklet
Ptychoramphus aleuticus
BCC Spp. Special
Concern
Least
Concern
-- -- --
Xantus's Murrelet
Synthliboramphus hypoleucus
Candidate; BCC Threatened Vulnerable Red -- --
 
* All species on this list are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

^ This species is abundant world-wide. However, the breeding population in central California is recovering from extermination.
Federal State NGO International
Organism ESA (?) CESA (?) IUCN (?) CITES (?) CMS (?)
Leatherback sea turtle
Dermochelys coriacea
Endangered -- Critically
Endanged
App.I App.I,
App.II
Federal State NGO International
Organism ESA; NMFS (?) CESA; CDFG (?) IUCN (?) AFS (?) CITES (?) CMS (?)
Coho salmon
Oncorhynchus kisutch
(Central California Coast ESU)
Endangered Endangered;
No Take
-- -- -- --
Steelhead
Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus
(Central California Coast DPS)
Threatened Limited Take
(2)
-- Threatened -- --
Steelhead
Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus
(South Central California Coast DPS)
Threatened Limited Take
(2)
-- Threatened -- --
Chinook salmon
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
(Central Valley Spring ESU)
Threatened Threatened -- Threatened -- --
Chinook salmon
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
(Central Valley Fall and Late Fall ESU)
Spp. Concern Spp. Special
Concern;
Limited Take
(2)
-- Vulnerable -- --
Chinook salmon
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
(Sacramento River Winter ESU)
Endangered Endangered;
Limited Take
(2)
-- Endangered -- --
River lamprey
Lampetra ayresii
-- Spp. Special
Concern
-- Vulnerable -- --
Green sturgeon
Acipenser medirostris
(Southern DPS)
Threatened Spp. Special
Concern;
No Take
Near
Threatened (full species)
Vulnerable App. II App. II
White sturgeon
Acipenser transmontanus
Endangered Limited Take
(1)
Least
Concern
Endangered* App. II --
Longfin smelt
Spirinchus thaleichthys
-- Threatened -- Threatened -- --
Eulachon
Thaleichthys pacificus
(Southern DPS)
Threatened Spp. Special
Concern
-- Threatened -- --
Tidewater goby
Eucyclogobius newberryi
Endangered Spp. Special
Concern
Vulnerable Endangered -- --
Darkblotched rockfish
Sebastes crameri
Overfished -- -- Vulnerable -- --
Widow rockfish
Sebastes entomelas
Overfished -- -- Vulnerable -- --
Cowcod
Sebastes levis
Spp. Concern;
Overfished
No Take -- Vulnerable -- --
Black rockfish
Sebastes melanops
-- -- -- Vulnerable* -- --
Blue rockfish
Sebastes mystinus
Precautionary zone -- -- -- -- --
Bocaccio
Sebastes paucispinis
Spp. Concern;
Overfished
Limited Take
(2)
Critically
Endangered
Vulnerable -- --
Canary rockfish
Sebastes pinniger
Overfished No Take -- Vulnerable -- --
Yelloweye rockfish
Sebastes ruberrimus
Overfished No Take -- Vulnerable* -- --
Shortspine thornyhead
Sebastolobus alascanus
-- -- Endangered Vulnerable -- --
Cabezon
Scorpaenichthys marmoratus
Precautionary zone Limited Take
(2)
-- -- -- --
Lingcod
Ophiodon elongatus
-- Limited Take
(2)
-- Vulnerable -- --
Greenlings
Hexagrammos spp.
-- Limited Take
(2)
-- -- -- --
Bigeye tuna
Thunnus obesus
(Pacific stock)
-- -- Vulnerable -- -- --
Great white shark
Carcharodon carcharias
-- No Take Vulnerable Conservation
Dependent
App. II App. I,
App. II
Basking shark
Cetorhinus maximus
(N. Pacific subpopulation)
-- Endangered Vulnerable Vulnerable App. II App.I,
App.II
Soupfin shark
Galeorhinus galeus
-- Limited Take
(1)
-- -- -- --
Bluntnose sixgill shark
Hexanchus griseus
-- Limited Take
(1)
Near
Threatened
-- -- --
Shortfin mako
Isurus oxyrinchus
-- Limited Take
(2)
Vulnerable^ -- -- App.II
Broadnose sevengill shark
Notorynchus cepedianus
(Eastern Pacific subpopulation)
-- Limited Take
(1)
Lower Risk/near threatened -- -- --
Blue shark
Prionace glauca
-- Limited Take
(2)
Near
Threatened
-- -- --
Big skate
Raja binoculata
-- -- Near
Threatened
Vulnerable -- --
Spiny dogfish
Squalus acanthias
-- -- Vulnerable^ -- -- --
Pacific angel shark
Squatina californica
-- -- Near
Threatened
-- -- --
Leopard shark
Triakis semifasciata
-- Limited Take
(3)
Least
Concern^
-- -- --
Sablefish
Anoplopoma fimbria
Precautionary zone -- -- -- -- --
Petrole sole
Eopsetta jordani
Precautionary zone -- -- -- -- --
*Status level based on nearby locations because population in MBNMS not assessed

^ IUCN status based on abundance world-wide; population in NE Pacific appears to be healthy (Bob Lea, pers. comm.)
Federal State NGO International
Organism ESA (?) CESA (?) CDFG IUCN (?) CITES (?)
Black corals
Order Antipatharia
-- -- -- -- App. II
Stony corals
Order Scleractinia
-- -- -- -- App. II
Lace corals
Order Stylasteridae
-- -- -- -- App. II
Black abalone
Haliotis cracherodii
Endangered -- No Take Critically
Endangered
--
Pinto abalone
Haliotis kamtschatkana
Spp.
Concern
-- No Take Endangered --
Red abalone
Haliotis rufescens
-- -- No Take/
Limited Take
(3)^
-- --
California brackishwater snail*
Tryonia imitator
-- -- -- Data
Deficient
--
Olympia oyster*
Ostrea lurida/conchaphila
-- -- -- -- --
*A species of concern for the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve due to low or declining abundance in Elkhorn Slough (Kerstin Wasson, ESNERR, pers. comm.)

^ No take south of the mouth of San Francisco Bay; north of the mouth of San Francisco Bay, take of up to 3 red abalone per person per day is allowed during a restricted time period (e.g., April 1 to June 30, 2005).
Federal State NGO
Organism ESA (?) CESA (?) CDFG IUCN (?)
Sea palm
Postelsia spp.
-- -- No Take --
Eel grass
Zostera marina
-- -- No Take --
Surf grass
Phyllospadix spp.
-- -- No Take --