The Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus is a generalist species that inhabits temperate and arctic coasts of the north Atlantic Ocean. In recent years, there has been growing concern about population declines at local and regional scales; however, there has been no attempt to robustly assess Great Black-backed Gull population trends across its global range. We obtained the most recent population counts across the species’ range and analysed population trends at a global, continental, and national scale over the most recent three-generation period (1985–2021) following IUCN Red List criteria. We found that, globally, the species has declined by 43%–48% over this period (1.2–1.3% per annum, respectively), from an estimated 291,000 breeding pairs to 152,000–165,000 breeding pairs under two different scenarios. North American populations declined more steeply than European ones (68% and 28%, respectively). We recommend that Great Black-backed Gull should be uplisted from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species under criterion A2 (an estimated reduction in population size >30% over three generations).