Target: Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (Minaet) of Costa Rica
Goal: Encourage the development of important shark protection measures worldwide.
Costa Rica recently passed a groundbreaking initiative that provides stronger protections for scalloped hammerhead sharks, which are severely targeted for the high commercial value of their fins. By including the sharks in a special category for endangered species, the Costa Rican government has secured legal incentives for the regional conservation and management of the species. With enough international praise for this initiative, other countries could be encouraged to also develop protective measures for hammerhead sharks.
Scalloped hammerhead sharks, named for the unusual and distinctive shape of their heads, are seriously threatened due to widespread finning, or when fishermen cut off the sharks’ fins and throw the animal back into the ocean to die. These sharks have been targeted by fisheries to such a degree that they were listed on the World Conservation Union’s 2008 Red List as endangered. The reason for the overfishing of this particular species is that hammerhead shark fins are one of the most prized specialties in Asian markets. Since the high commercial value of the sharks’ fins is contrasted by the very low value of hammerhead shark meat, fisheries came up with the cruel, wasteful and often illegal practice of finning.
Seeking to control the disastrous international shark fin trade, the Costa Rican government has awarded scalloped hammerhead sharks Appendix III status in the Convention on International Trade (CITES) in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This measure would improve controls on the international trade of hammerhead shark products, regulating the export of its fins by requiring a permit that can only be issued if the product is legally obtained. Through this initiative, other neighboring countries that participate in CITES, like Panamá, Ecuador and Colombia, are committed to grant assistance for the regional conservation and management of the scalloped hammerhead shark species.
By signing the petition below, you are not only praising Costa Rica for securing stronger protections for this top-tier marine predator, you are also encouraging other countries and their leaders to work towards worldwide shark conservation by taking similar steps.
Dear Minister of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications of Costa Rica,
I am writing to praise you for passing the groundbreaking initiative including scalloped hammerhead sharks in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade (CITES) in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This measure is of vital importance for beginning to control the disastrous international shark fin trade.
While it is an important first step towards shaping responsible international trade, the health of scalloped hammerhead sharks and other endangered or threatened marine species is dependent on a worldwide shark protection movement. It is my sincere hope that other countries will soon follow Costa Rica’s example and take the steps to implement protective measures of their own.
I urge you to promote efficiency and transparency in the control and regulation of the shark fin trade in your country, as well as encourage other countries to develop comprehensive measures to protect scalloped hammerhead sharks from further devastation.
[Your Name Here]