Take Action to Protect Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks

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Originally Posted: 20 December 2011

Take Action to Protect Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks

FROM Turtle Island Restoration Network

ACTION

Tell National Marine Fisheries Service to add Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks to the Endangered Species Act that will trigger new policies to protect these sharks and their habitat.

Sign an online petition:
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1723/p/dia/action/public/index.sjs?action_KEY=8913

And/or better yet, make direct contact:

Subject:
Designate scalloped hammerheads as endangered species: NOAA–NMFS–2011–0261

National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Hwy, Room 13535
Silver Spring, MD 20910
phone (301) 427-8400
fax (301) 713-0376
PR.Webmaster@noaa.gov

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

The scalloped hammerhead is a beautiful and mysterious schooling shark that congregates by the thousands over underwater seamounts. This species is extremely vulnerable to targeted fishing by industrial longlines fishing for the shark fin trade. Because of this, its populations are experiencing drastic declines.

Adding this species to the Endangered Species Act will trigger new policies to protect these sharks and their habitat. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) as endangered and warns of a very high risk of extinction for this species in the wild. Like all sharks, scalloped hammerheads play an important role in the health and balance of marine ecosystems. Threatened coral reef ecosystems seriously suffer from the removal of this top predator.

The photo on the right was taken in Cocos Island National Park, where the Sea Turtle Restoration Project and allies conduct research to better understand the habitat use and conservation needs of sharks and sea turtles. Even in this protected area, scalloped hammerhead sharks are illegally caught for their lucrative fins.


Dear NMFS Endangered Species Division,

We urge you to list the scalloped hammerhead shark as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act and take swift and decisive action for the recovery of Eastern Pacific shark populations.

This species is in drastic decline throughout its range due to targeted overfishing for the shark fin trade and incidental bycatch in non-selective fisheries such as tuna longlines.. These schooling sharks regularly congregate along seamounts, making them highly vulnerable to targeted fishing pressure. Scalloped hammerheads play an important role in the health and balance of oceanic ecosystems including already threatened coral reefs, ecosystems that could seriously suffer from the removal of a top predator.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the scalloped hammerhead as endangered and considers this species at a very high risk of extinction in the wild. No protections have yet been granted for scalloped hammerheads by CITES due to pressure from fishing nations. All populations of scalloped hammerhead sharks are threatened by commercial exploitation and without additional protective regulations, and their enforcement, and threatened with extinction.

We urge you to list the scalloped hammerhead shark as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act and rapidly establish critical habitat for the increased protection of their distinct populations.

Sincerely...


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