Press Release

Pew Applauds Action by Honduras and Costa Rica to Protect Hammerhead Sharks

About

Central American countries to co-sponsor proposal to list species at CITES Appendix II

The Pew Environment Group praised the governments of Honduras and Costa Rica today for taking the initiative to propose protections for scalloped hammerhead sharks under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). For nearly 40 years, CITES has shielded thousands of plants and animals from overexploitation from international trade, and it is widely considered one of the best-enforced international conservation agreements. The announcement to propose listing under Appendix II was made at this week's annual meeting of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development.

It's time for strong international protection for endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks.Maximiliano Bello, senior advisor, Global Shark Conservation

 “It's time for strong international protection for endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks,” said Maximiliano Bello, senior adviser to the Global Shark Conservation Campaign of the Pew Environment Group. “Other governments should join Honduras and Costa Rica in supporting a sustainable future for these sharks.”

Scalloped hammerheads are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are in high demand for shark fin soup and account for about 4 percent of all shark fins in international trade. 

Government delegates from the 175 CITES member countries, including Honduras and Costa Rica, will vote on the hammerhead proposal and other possible shark proposals at next year's meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). During this meeting, which will take place March 3-15, 2013, in Thailand, governments will determine the fate of scalloped hammerheads as well as many other threatened and potentially threatened species. The proposal also includes smooth and great hammerhead sharks because of their close resemblance to the scalloped hammerhead. 

“The decision to propose a CITES Appendix II listing for these hammerhead species sends a significant conservation message and builds upon shark conservation efforts under way in Central America,” said Rigoberto Cuellar, the Honduran minister of natural resources and environment. “We hope that other countries will agree and will co-sponsor our proposal.” 

“The time has come to regulate international trade of endangered hammerhead sharks," said Ana Lorena Guevara, vice minister of environment for Costa Rica. “The loss of these top predators would be detrimental to the health of our oceans. ” 

CITES Appendix II listings serve a critical function in conserving global shark populations by helping to ensure that their trade is sustainable and legal. CITES provides unique benefits that supplement and bolster the limited conservation and management measures adopted by some regional fisheries management organizations, as well as regulations established by individual countries.

To learn more about Pew's work to advocate for shark conservation, visit www.PewEnvironment.jrg/Sharks.

Notes:

  • CITES Appendix II includes species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction but could become so unless trade is closely controlled. 
  • CITES has protected more than 30,000 plants and animals against overexploitation from international trade, and it is considered one of the best-enforced international conservation agreements. 
  • CITES has historically focused on land-based species, but in recent years the number of marine species proposed for protection has increased. Shark species currently protected include the whale shark, basking shark, great white shark, and sawfish. 
  • The Central American Commission for Environment and Development meeting, where the proposal was announced today, is attended by representatives of the environmental authorities of Central America and the Dominican Republic. 

Media Contact

Rachel Brittin

Officer, Communications

202.540.6312