NOAA Fisheries announced Thursday a new “Species in the Spotlight” campaign focused on eight marine species — three that live in waters off San Diego — that are at risk of extinction.

The eight species are the Gulf of Maine population of Atlantic salmon, Central California Coast coho salmon, Cook Inlet beluga whales, Hawaiian monk seals, Pacific leatherback sea turtles, Sacramento River winter-run chinook salmon, Southern Resident killer whales in Puget Sound, and California Coast white abalone.

The Pacific leatherback sea turtles, Southen Resident killer whales and California Coast white abalone are found in waters off San Diego.

“Of all the species NOAA protects under the ESA, these eight species are among the most at risk of extinction in the near future,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA Fisheries.

“For some of these species, their numbers are so low that they need to be bred in captivity; others are facing human threats that must be addressed.  If we act now with renewed commitment and intensified efforts, we can help these species survive and thrive.”

Throughout the Species in the Spotlight campaign, which lasts through next May, NOAA Fisheries will engage public and private sector partners in collaborative actions to spur recovery for these species. Guiding the effort will be a detailed five year action plan for each species, which will be released in September.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.