PORTLAND – The bluefin tuna has escaped being placed on the endangered species list, but the majestic fish prized by sushi lovers will be listed as a “species of concern” by the federal agency that oversees America’s fisheries.

After extensive scientific review, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday it has determined that bluefin tuna does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The agency conducted the review after the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a petition seeking an endangered status for the fish, claiming the species faces possible extinction because of overfishing and habitat degradation, including effects of the BP oil spill on bluefin spawning grounds in the Gulf of Mexico.

Even though bluefin will not be listed as endangered or threatened, NOAA officials said they still have concerns about the fish.

NOAA scientists will revisit the status of the species in early 2013 when a new stock assessment and information on the impacts of the BP oil spill are available.

“We remain concerned about the status of bluefin tuna, both fishing quota compliance and the potential effects of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill on the western stock of Atlantic bluefin tuna,” said Larry Robinson, NOAA’s assistant secretary for conservation and compliance.

Bluefin fishermen are relieved NOAA didn’t give the fish an endangered status, said Rich Ruais, executive director of the American Bluefin Tuna Association.

There are some 5,000 commercial and 15,000 recreational bluefin fishermen from Maine to Texas, he said.

Listing the bluefin as threatened or endangered would have jeopardized the livelihood of tuna fishermen, said Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine.

The U.S. accounts for about 5 percent of the global bluefin harvest, with more than half the catch being exported, she said.

Most of the catch goes to Japan, where a single large fish can sell for tens of thousands of dollars.