Hammerhead Sharks Get Needed Federal Protections

Printer-friendly version

July 3, 2014

CONTACT:

Melanie Gade:  Mgade@defenders.org ; (202) 772-0288

Jay Tutchton: jtutchton@defenders.org cell (720) 301-3843

Hammerhead Sharks Get Needed Federal Protections:

 First Time in History a Shark is Listed under the Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON – Four key populations of scalloped hammerhead sharks were listed today under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the first time in history a shark species has received federal protections under the ESA. The scalloped hammerhead shark is a highly imperiled species and is considered globally endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The species is targeted primarily for its fins but is also killed as “by-catch” in fisheries targeting other species. 

NMFS listed scalloped hammerhead sharks living in the Eastern Atlantic and Eastern Pacific as endangered, and listed scalloped hammerhead sharks living in the Central and Southwest Atlantic and Indo-West Pacific as threatened. NMFS declined to list scalloped hammerhead sharks living in the Northwest Atlantic or Central Pacific.

Jay Tutchton, Senior Staff Attorney with Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

“This is great news for hammerhead sharks. The National Marine Fisheries Service deserves credit for moving to protect a shark species headed towards extinction. This is what the Endangered Species Act is for and we’re glad to see National Marine Fisheries Service embracing this valuable tool for wildlife conservation.

“Today’s listing is a significant step in the right direction, but there is still much work to be done. Defenders looks forward to working with the National Marine Fisheries Service on implementing habitat protections for these sharks within U.S. waters in order to give these animals a fair shot at recovery.”

###

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @defendersnews.

You may also be interested in:

Reef Shark, © Ed Gullekson
Conservation Issue
Wildlife doesn’t stop at the U.S. border – so neither do we. We work internationally to protect wildlife around the world.
Where We Work
The Golden state is home to millions of wild birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish that need our help.
Fact Sheet
Sharks (superorder Selachimorpha) belong to a family of fish that have skeletons made of cartilage, a tissue more flexible and lighter than bone. Shark bodies are rounded and tapering at the ends. They breathe through a series of five to seven gill slits located on either side of their bodies.