The scalloped hammerhead shark, one of the most distinctive creatures on the planet, is subject to targeted fisheries, illegal fishing, and fishery bycatch throughout the world. Unlike other species of sharks, hammerheads frequently aggregate in large numbers, which makes them more vulnerable to fishing efforts. Furthermore, hammerheads are among the most frequently taken shark species in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. In the eastern Pacific Ocean, hammerheads are both targeted and caught as bycatch in the purse seine and longline fisheries. The purse seine fishery reported the catch of 100 tons of hammerheads in 2011.
Species-specific data are limited, but market-based scientific inquiries have yielded important trade information. Traders have stated that hammerhead fins are some of the most valuable in the market. The three hammerhead species (Sphyrna lewini, S. mokarran, S. zygaena) combined make up approximately six percent of the identified fins entering the Hong Kong market. From this information, scientists have estimated that 1.3 million to 2.7 million scalloped and smooth hammerheads are exploited for the fin trade every year.
The scalloped hammerhead, with the look-alike species great and smooth hammerheads, were proposed for inclusion on CITES Appendix II in 2010, which would have regulated international trade of these species, but the proposal feel short, with many countries arguing that sharks should be regulated through RFMOs instead of CITES. As a result, the Commission should protect these vulnerable species by prohibiting the retention of hammerheads in all fisheries in the Convention area and requesting the immediate live release of any hammerhead shark.