by | Aug 25, 2015

Additional management measures recommended in coastal areas to protect nurseries

(San José, Costa Rica – August 25, 2015).
Halt all hammerhead shark product exports! That is the main recommendation of the Hammerhead Shark Non Detrimental Extraction Finding (NDEF), elaborated by the Costa Rican Council of Scientific Authority Representatives of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CRACCITES-Costa Rica), and published last August 20. Furthermore, CRACCITES recommends management measures in coastal zones to protect rookeries, as well as the immediate implementation of catch and landing monitoring programs, and traceability of products along the commercial chain of custody.

As of last March 3rd, the Ministry of Environment (Costa Rica’s CITES Administrative Authority) announced that it would no longer allow the exportation of hammerhead shark products, until the finalization of the NDEF, a CITES requirement to allow these exportations after September 14, 2014. Since the CRACCITES is an consultative entity, it is now the competence of the Administrative Authority to define future marine conservation policy, taking the recommendation of the scientists under consideration .
“The status of the hammerhead shark population in the Eastern Tropical Pacific is critical due to the high mortality associated to fisheries”, assured Randall Arauz, representative of the Non Government Organizations in CRACCITES, and Executive Director of the Center for Restoration of Endangered Marine Animals. “These recommendations don’t only diminish the threat that international trade represents the species, they also promote the conditions to reduce the mortality of neonates and juveniles, and to improve the future management of the national fishery”.
The NDEF is a requirement to export products listed under Appendix II of CITES, and consists of an exhaustive study on the state of the population in question, that guarantees extraction levels are sustainable in biological terms, and that efficient methods of control exist. The NDEF may have three results: negative (existent management is inadequate to mitigate all risks, impacts and concerns, and/or the risks are unknown), positive (all risks are known and existent management is adequate to mitigate all risks, impacts and concerns), or conditioned. The result of the NDEF elaborated by the CRACCITES of Costa Rica was negative, because of which the continued ban on hammerhead shark products exports is recommended.
CRACCITES has a membership with representatives of the following institutions: National University (UNA), University of Costa Rica (UCR), the Technological Institute of Costa Rica (TEC), the National Museum, the Association of Veterinary Professionals, the Association of Biology Professionals, the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA), and a representative of a national environmental NGO. The TEC and INCOPESCA did not agree with this position.