These sharks are on most every diver's bucket list - hammerheads. With their unusual and very distinct shaped head, these incredible sharks are awe-inspiring. To experience hammerheads in the wild is an absolute dream come true for many scuba divers.
Unfortunately the future for three species of hammerhead - the great, scalloped and smooth - does not look bright. All three are highly prized for their fins and under increasing threat from the international finning trade. With fins selling up to US $100 per kilogram, it's a lucrative and exploited market. And because of this demand, hammerheads are among the species of sharks most often subjected to finning (slicing off the fins and discarding the body at sea).
The statistics paint an alarming picture too: in excess of 80 percent decline in some regions. Yet in just a few days, CITES leaders have the opportunity to help turn this statistic around when they meet in Bangkok for the 16th Conference of the Parties to CITES.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the great and scalloped hammerhead as Endangered making them the most threatened of all the world's pelagic and semi -pelagic sharks. Smooth hammerheads are classified by the IUCN as Vulnerable.
With only three sharks - basking, great white and whale - listed on Appendix II of CITES the opportunity to regulate, manage and monitor the international trade in endangered and vulnerable sharks has never been so real.
Before decisions are made in the next few weeks, you can help amplify the call to protect them:
1.Sign the petition urging CITES member countries to give sharks and rays much needed protections.
2.Send a letter direct to CITES authorities urging them to vote “Yes” for sharks and rays.
Special thanks to Guillermo Munro of www.memuco.org