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Tiburon martillo The hammerhead shark is threatened because of the market for its fins and part of its hammer. (Photo: Simon Rogerson, courtesy of IUCN)
Gulf of California regional NGOs Unite with International Organizations in Campaign to Protect the Hammerhead Shark  (Sphyrna lewini, S. mokarran y S. zygaena)

Editor's note: We thank Hitandehui Tovar* for her contribution to this article.

In recent months more than 6 thousand signatures were gathered on a petition in support of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) initiative to have governments order the inclusion of the Hammerhead Shark in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

By doing so, more strict controls are sought for international commerce, where there is great demand for shark fins for use in shark fin soup.  This demand is responsible for the drastic reduction of hammerhead shark populations, which has merited its classification as a species in danger of extinction, according to the IUCN Red List.

The Government of Mexico is one of the initiative's proponents, along with Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, and Honduras.

In the Upper Gulf, it is the juvenile hammerhead sharks that need to be protected, while adults are found farther down the Gulf, from Isla San Jorge southward.  Deep sea fishing boats are responsible for their capture in the region.

Although the shark is considered by-catch and not a commercial species in the zone, it is known that many times part of the shark’s hammer is cut off to allow it to pass as a dogfish. And since it is sold without the head, it's difficult to know what species it was.

The sharks are particularly sensitive to overfishing given their tendency to mature late, and  their  relatively low  reproduction  rate,

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Adoption of Hammerhead Sharks

Tiburones martillos

When you adopt a shark, you are supporting the purchase of research equipment used to study the migration patterns of sharks in the region.  For $500.00 you can adopt a hammerhead shark that has been tagged with an acoustic transmitter in the Isla del Coco National Park.  Pretoma will keep you up-to-date on the movements of your shark.  For $2000 you can adopt a shark tagged with a satellite transmitter, which you can follow in real time via the Internet. When you adopt a shark, you will form part of our corporate membership for one year.

Direct Benefits of Adoption

Contact us here

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according to the first study to determine the global conservation status of 64 species of oceanic (pelagic) sharks and rays, completed by the IUCN Shark Specialist Group.

With 78 days remaining to the start of the next CITES Conference of the Parties, to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from March 3 to 14, 2013, the campaign had collected 6,729 signatures of the 10,000 required by the organizers.

You can sign the petition here.

*Communications Assistant, Intercultural Center
for the Study of Deserts and Oceans (CEDO)

Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness