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Oceanic whitetip and hammerhead sharks are some of the most amazing creatures in the world’s oceans, but they are disappearing at an alarming rate. These top predators play a critical role in maintaining the balance of life in the sea, and their loss could cause irreversible damage to the oceans. Up to 73 million sharks are killed every year for their fins, valued for the Asian delicacy shark fin soup.

Sharks grow slowly, mature late and produce few offspring over long life spans, making them particularly vulnerable to overexploitation and slow to recover from overfishing.

This is particularly true for oceanic whitetip and hammerhead sharks, which have an even lower ability to recover from decline compared to most shark species. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies oceanic whitetips as Critically Endangered and hammerhead sharks as Endangered. Caught primarily for their fins for exports and generally not used for their meat, these lions and tigers of the ocean need special protection now.

The United States has an opportunity to demonstrate global leadership for sharks by permanently protecting these threatened species in our waters. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) governs the management of sharks in U.S. ocean territory, and has supported proposals for global trade restrictions to ensure the future of these sharks. While the world deliberates, the U.S. should act now to permanently protect these species in our waters.

Tell NMFS it’s time to stop catching hammerhead and oceanic whitetip sharks in U.S. waters!

Thank you,

Matt Rand
Director, Global Shark Conservation Campaign
Pew Environment Group