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Species of Concern in the Greater Atlantic Region

Species of Concern (SOC) are those species about which NOAA Fisheries Service has concerns regarding status and threats, but for which insufficient information is available to indicate a need to list the species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The goal is to promote proactive conservation efforts for these species in order to preclude the need to list them in the future.

"Species of concern" status does not carry any procedural or substantive protections under the ESA.

Species of Concern (SOC) include those species that NMFS has concerns about regarding danger of extinction or risk of becoming endangered but for which insufficient information is available to indicate a need to list.  SOC can also include species that have undergone a status review which resulted in a listing not warranted determination, but where significant concerns or uncertainties remain.  Species undergoing a formal status review can also be SOCs.

SOC designations are meant to:

  • Identify species potentially at risk
  • Increase public awareness about those species
  • Identify data deficiencies and uncertainties in species’ status and threats
  • Stimulate cooperative research efforts to obtain the information necessary to evaluate species status and threats
  • Foster voluntary efforts to conserve the species before listing becomes warranted

Demographic and diversity vulnerability as well as threats to the species are all factors taken into consideration when identifying SOC.  These factors may include:


Species of Concern in Greater Atlantic Region


  • Abundance and productivity: magnitude of decline, natural rarity, and endemism
  • Distribution: population connectivity, limited geographic range, and endemism
  • Life-history characteristics: vulnerable life-history strategies, resilience to environmental variability and catastrophes, or the loss of unique life-history traits
  • Extraction
  • Habitat degradation/loss
  • Disease and predation
  • Other natural or man-made factors for decline