Target: Eric Schwaab, Assistant Administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service
Goal: Protect endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks against commercial trade
The National Marine Fisheries Service has just announced that scalloped hammerhead sharks, whose fins are a coveted ingredient in shark fin soup, will be classified as endangered. As an endangered species, scalloped hammerheads will receive international protections. In the current proposal, there is a provision that allows for trade in scalloped hammerheads to continue if the exporting country determines that this is sustainable. This provision essentially legalizes the continued exploitation of these sharks, severely threatening their survival.
The demand for shark fins is driving overfishing of the species. The high number of fibers in scalloped hammerhead fins makes them especially desirable for shark fin soup and fishermen are known to catch juvenile as well as adult species, which threatens the resilience of generations of sharks. As a result, scalloped hammerhead sharks in the eastern Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans will be listed as endangered.
According to ABC news and other news outlets, scalloped hammerheads will be listed as endangered under Appendix III to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. When a species is listed under Article III, trade of the species is permitted to continue under a permit system. Conversely, Article I of the convention prohibits international commercial trade of the listed species. Because the demand for shark fin soup is so high, it is most likely these sharks will continue to be threatened by humans if lightly regulated trade is permitted. Sign this petition to urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to list the scalloped hammerhead in Appendix I, so that its population is more likely to recover from.
Dear Eric Schwaab,
The decline of scalloped hammerhead sharks comes largely from the demand for their fins as an ingredient in shark fin soup, a popular Chinese dish. As a result of overfishing, the National Marine Fisheries Service has made the decision to list the scalloped hammerhead as an endangered species. However, despite the fact that the sharks’ decline is related to their role in a commercial market, the new endangered species protections do not prohibit further fishing and trade of these sharks.
For certain classifications under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, trade of endangered species is permitted to continue under a permit system. However, other classifications are stricter, namely Article I of the convention, which prohibits international commercial trade of the listed species. Because the demand for shark fin soup is so high, these sharks will most likely continue to be threatened by humans if any trade is permitted.
Please prevent all trade in scalloped hammerheads, so that the population will be well protected for generations to come.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: thundafunda via Flickr