The assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, headquartered in Glad, Switzerland, reinforces what marine conservationists have known for decades, that there are negative consequences to poor fisheries management, environmentalists said.
Susan Lieberman, director of International Policy for the Pew Environment Group, said her organization applauds the report.
"Pew welcomes this new and much needed global assessment of commercially and ecologically important species of tuna, swordfish and marlin," she said. "The analysis by the world's top scientific experts for these species evaluates the risk of extinction and highlights the combined impacts of a wide range of threats including overfishing, illegal fishing, habitat loss and pollution."
Tuna stocks are in serious decline around the world, with too many boats chasing too few fish and widespread illegal fishing in several ocean areas, the report said.
Larger tuna species such as bluefin and bigeye, which are longer-lived, slower to reproduce and economically more valuable, meet the IUCN criteria to be categorized as "threatened," it said.