Petition to Protect Great Hammerhead Sharks Under Endangered Species Act

Petition Aims to Provide Greater Protection for Great Hammerhead Sharks Under USA Endangered Species Act

The Center for Biological Diversity submitted a petition this week urging the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to protect the great hammerhead shark under the Endangered Species Act.

The petition also asks the NMFS to designate critical habitat essential to the survival and recovery of the sharks, whose population has declined by more than 80% globally over the past 70 years. IN US waters, the great hammerhead is found off Hawaii and the U.S. East Coast, as well as in other warm temperate and tropical waters around the world, including US Territories in the Pacific.

One of the most threatened large sharks, the population of Great Hammerheads (Sphryna mokkaran) has declined more than 50% in the past 70 years In the Atlantic Ocean. In the Pacific the population has declined dramatically, and populations have vanished from much of their range.

Great hammerhead populations have suffered from habitat loss, targeted for food and as a highly valued shark fin for shark fin soup. They are also killed as bycatch on longlines and gillnets and other fishing gear.

” With Endangered Species Act protections, we can ensure the next generation will see these amazing creatures in the wild. Great hammerheads won’t be around much longer unless we act now.”

Emily Jeffers, JD, Center for Biological Diversity.

The great hammerhead shark is categorized as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The species is highly threatened with extinction because of overfishing for its large fins prized in Asian seafood markets. It is also killed in US waters by recreational fishermen outside state limits, or as accidental stress when released.

almost to extinction in the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

Shark Stewards joins the Center for Biological Diversity calling for increased protection for Great Hammerhead Sharks under the ESA and in their complete range. We are also asking NMFS to support the motion to uplist this species and the scalloped hammerhead to Appendix I at the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species in Panama, 2022.

David McGuire, Director Shark Stewards

Known for their distinctive heads that resemble a hammer, great hammerhead sharks can reach 20 feet in length and live up to 44 years. Like many large species of shark, they are long-lived that matures late and have few young and is slow to recover from overfishing.

Great hammerhead sharks have suffered severe population declines in all oceans. They have vanished in most parts of their range and are critically endangered.

Around the world these sharks are killed as bycatch in gillnet and longline fisheries, and are targeted for food, skin and their teeth in artisinal fisheries. Shark Stewards is working with the Shark Research Institute and US Fish and Wildlife to uplist Scalloped Hammerhead and Great Hammerhead sharks to Appendix II under CITES and list the entire family of Sphyrnidae under CITES due to their vulnerability and look alike status in the shark fin trade.