On July 3, 2014, NMFS announced their final decision to list four of the six distinct population segments (DPSs) of scalloped hammerhead sharks under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The listing will be effective on September 2, 2014. The Indo-West Pacific DPS includes American Samoa, CNMI and Guam, and will be listed as “threatened”. The Central Pacific DPS includes Hawaii and will not be listed under the ESA. In their announcement, NMFS concluded that they will not be designating critical habitat at this time for the Indo-West Pacific DPS because there is insufficient information to determine features essential to conservation with the U.S. EEZ.
For species listed as threatened, ESA Section 9 take prohibitions do not automatically apply, and NMFS must consider whether regulations are necessary for the conservation of threatened species. In the final rule, NMFS determined that take prohibitions are not necessary for the Indo-West Pacific DPS of scalloped hammerhead sharks, given that U.S. interaction with the DPS is negligible and the DPS’ risks of extinction are primarily a result of threats from foreign fishing activities.
To read the final rule, click here.
For more information on scalloped hammerhead sharks, NMFS’ decision and a map of the DPS boundaries, click here.