Motion for the conservation of hammerhead sharks in the Mesoamerican Region and the marine corridor in the Eastern Tropical Pacific

RECOGNIZING the obligations of the global community to conserve, protect, and manage migratory sharks, according to the commitments in various international conventions, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), The United Nations Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, International Plan of Action for Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the FAO´s Committee on Fisheries (COFI);

CONSIDERING that CITES came into effect in 1975, in response to the increasing threat posed by international trade to many vulnerable or threatened species, it is crucial that collaboration and cooperation exist among States to ensure that this commerce is sustainable and controlled, so as not to further threaten or endanger wildlife;

REITERATING that CITES regulates the international trade of wildlife species, as well as their products and subproducts, through three appendices:
 Appendix I. Threatened species for which international trade is forbidden.
 Appendix II. Species that could become endangered, and for which trade is allowed under strict regulations, requiring evidence of sustainability and legality.
 Appendix III. Species included upon request of a specific nation, that requires the cooperation of other countries to prevent ilegal exploitation;

RECALLING that the Plenary at the World Conservation Congress in its fourth session, in Barcelona Spain, on October 5-14, 2008, adopted Recommendation 4.111 “Conservation of Leatherback Sea Turtles Dermochelys coriacea and hammerhead sharks Sphyrna spp in the Marine Corridor of the Eastern Tropical Pacific”, in which stronger protection is requested for the leatherback turtle and the hammerhead shark, through the control and management of fishing effort, including the establishment of spatial and temporary closures of fisheries that interact with such species in the aforementioned biological corridor;
ACKNOWLEDGING that in 2009, the IUCN declared the common hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini) a globally Endangered Species, given that it´s populations have declined over 90% during the last 20 years;
RECALLING that during the XV Conference of the Parties (COP) of CITES, in Doha (Qatar), on March 13-25, 2010, there were four proposals to include species of sharks in Appendix II, one of them being the hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini);
STRESSING that previous to the aforementioned COP, the ad hoc Expert Panel of the FAO concluded that there was enough information to justify the inclusion of hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini) in Appendix II of CITES;
AWARE that on that occassion, the total number of votes required to add this species to Appendix II of CITES was not reached, but currently the majority of the countries in the Mesoamerican region have elaborated their respective Action Plans for Sharks, which allows for more effective management measures to be taken; and
DEEPLY CONCERNED that to date, these Shark Action Plans have not been implemented effectively, and a framework of concrete actions to control indiscriminate fishing of this species in the Mesoamerican Region is still lacking;

The World Conservation Congress, at its session, in Jeju, Republic of Korea, September 6-15, 2012:
1. REQUESTS all States to (OPTION 1 [consider], OPTION 2 [support]) the inclusion of the scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), the smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) and the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) in Appendix II of CITES, to contribute to the conservation and sustainability of wild populations in the future, through control of the international trade of their products, taking into account all available information and the advice of the FAO Expert Panel; and

2. REQUESTS that States and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations where these species are present during reproduction, feeding and/or migration, to conserve the following shark species: the scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), the smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) and the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran), through conservation and management measures, which could include control and management of fishing effort, strengthening of the legal framework, improvement of communication channels amongst nations, and through identification and protection of critical habitats.
Sponsors:
Programa de Restauración de Tortugas (PRETOMA)
Fundación Marviva
Ministry of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica
Explanatory Memorandum
The urgent inclusion of the scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), the smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena), and the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) in Appendix II of CITES, is justified by diverse technical considerations, among which include that in Pacific Ocean, data exists that provides irrefutable evidence of a substantial population decline, indicating a reduction of 65-85 % in 44 years from 1963 to 2007, and sightings data in the Eastern Tropical Pacific indicate a reduction of 71% in 12 years, between 1992 and 2004.

This species is under strong fishing pressure on by artisanal, domestic longline and foreign longline fleets. In this context, the products derived from this species, mainly their large fins, have a high economic value in international markets. It is estimated that between 1.3 and 2.7 million specimens of Sphyrna are captured every year for the shark fin trade. In addition, there is little or deficient control of their capture.
Finally, it must be reiterated that during the XV Conference of the Parts of CITES, in Doha (Qatar), March 13-25, 2010, the FAO ad hoc Expert Panel and the CITES Secretariat recommended supporting the inclusion of the following shark species in Appendix II, given the resemblance of their fins: the scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), the smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena), and the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran).