(January 29, 2013 – San José, Costa Rica)

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna lewini)

Last Friday January 25, the Council of Ministers of the Central American Commission of Environment and Development (CCAD), which belongs to the Environment Department of the Central American Integration System (SICA), agreed to support the initiative to include hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) en Appendix II of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The proposal was formally presented by Costa Rica, Honduras, and Brazil, and it will be discussed and voted during the next Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention, to be held next March in Bangkok, Thailand. Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and the European Union have also supported the proposal.

According to the Council of Ministers of CCAD “populations of this marine species have dwindled due to overfishing, incidental catch, and shark finning, and also because the fins are highly prized for consumption in Asian markets, because of which it is necessary to take decisions and start the battle in favor of the conservation of all shark species.”

According to Randall Arauz, of the Costa Rican organization Pretoma, it is disturbing that some Central American countries have yet to define their position regarding hammerhead sharks at CITES. “The recommendation of the CCAD builds upon the opinion of the Panel of Experts of FAO (2010) and the plenary of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) during the most recent World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea, last September,” informed Arauz. “Sadly, some Central American countries have done nothing but come up with one excuse after another to deny hammerheads the immediate protection they need and deserve, from international trade, thus solely benefitting the shark fin industry.”

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