Honduras and Costa Rica Propose Protections for Hammerheads

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    Fish News EU – The governments of Honduras and Costa Rica have today proposed protections for scalloped hammerhead sharks under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

    According to the Pew Environment Group, who have praised the initiative, CITES is widely considered one of the best-enforced international conservation agreements. “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 per cent 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 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 on 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.” (5/10/12) (photo courtesy Internet)

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