Species of Concern Law and Legal Definition

Species of concern is an informal term used to refer species that need proactive protection, but for which insufficient information is available to indicate a need to list the species as endangered. The term is not defined in the Endangered Species Act. They are species that are declining, and about which the NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has concerns regarding status and threats. They are species at risk.

Many organizations and agencies such as the NOAA Fisheries maintain a list of species of concern. However, the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office does not maintain a species of concern list. Species that come under the species of concern list do not carry any procedural or substantive protections under the ESA. Species of concern can also be candidate species if such species were petitioned for ESA listing, or if a status review was initiated after they became species of concern.