[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 66 (Friday, April 5, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 20717-20753]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-07781]



[[Page 20717]]

Vol. 78

Friday,

No. 66

April 5, 2013

Part II





Department of Commerce





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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration





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50 CFR Parts 223 and 224





Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Endangered, 
Threatened, and Not Warranted Listing Determinations for Six Distinct 
Population Segments of Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 78 , No. 66 / Friday, April 5, 2013 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 223 and 224

[Docket No. 111025652-3245-02]
RIN 0648-XA798


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Endangered, Threatened, and Not Warranted Listing Determinations for 
Six Distinct Population Segments of Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: In response to a petition submitted by WildEarth Guardians and 
Friends of Animals to list the species as threatened or endangered, we, 
NMFS, have completed a comprehensive status review under the Endangered 
Species Act (ESA) for the scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini). 
Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, 
including the status review report (Miller et al., 2013), and other 
information available since completion of the status review report, we 
have determined that the species is comprised of six distinct 
population segments (DPSs) that qualify as species under the ESA: 
Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico (NW Atlantic & GOM DPS); Central 
and Southwest Atlantic (Central & SW Atlantic DPS); Eastern Atlantic 
DPS; Indo-West Pacific DPS; Central Pacific DPS; and Eastern Pacific 
DPS. After reviewing the best available scientific and commercial 
information on the DPSs, we have determined that two DPSs warrant 
listing as endangered, the Eastern Atlantic and Eastern Pacific DPSs; 
two DPSs warrant listing as threatened, the Central & SW Atlantic and 
Indo-West Pacific DPSs; and two DPSs do not warrant listing at this 
time, the NW Atlantic & GOM DPS and the Central Pacific DPS. Any 
protective regulations determined to be necessary and advisable for the 
conservation of the threatened DPSs under ESA section 4(d) would be 
proposed in a subsequent Federal Register announcement. Should the 
proposed listings be finalized, we would also designate critical 
habitat for the species, to the maximum extent prudent and 
determinable. We solicit information to assist these listing 
determinations, the development of proposed protective regulations, and 
designation of critical habitat in the event these proposed DPSs are 
finally listed.

DATES: Comments on this proposed rule must be received by June 4, 2013. 
Public hearing requests must be requested by May 20, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by the 
code NOAA-NMFS-2011-0261 by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic comments via 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2011-0261, click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, 
complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Office of Protected 
Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
     Fax: 301-713-4060, Attn: Maggie Miller
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in 
Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. The proposed 
rule and the status review report are also available electronically on 
the NMFS Web site at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/scallopedhammerheadshark.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Maggie Miller, NMFS, Office of 
Protected Resources, (301) 427-8403.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On August 14, 2011, we received a petition from WildEarth Guardians 
and Friends of Animals to list the scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna 
lewini) as threatened or endangered under the ESA throughout its entire 
range, or, as an alternative, to delineate the species into five DPSs 
(Eastern Central and Southeast Pacific, Eastern Central Atlantic, 
Northwest and Western Central Atlantic, Southwest Atlantic, and Western 
Indian Ocean) and list any or all of these DPSs as threatened or 
endangered. The petitioners also requested that critical habitat be 
designated for the scalloped hammerhead under the ESA. On November 28, 
2011, we published a positive 90-day finding (76 FR 72891), announcing 
that the petition presented substantial scientific or commercial 
information indicating the petitioned action of listing the species may 
be warranted and explained the basis for that finding. We also 
announced the initiation of a status review of the species, as required 
by Section 4(b)(3)(a) of the ESA, and requested information to inform 
the agency's decision on whether the species warranted listing as 
endangered or threatened under the ESA.

Listing Species Under the Endangered Species Act

    We are responsible for determining whether scalloped hammerhead 
sharks are threatened or endangered under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) To make this determination, we first consider whether a group of 
organisms constitutes a ``species'' under Section 3 of the ESA, then 
whether the status of the species qualifies it for listing as either 
threatened or endangered. Section 3 of the ESA defines species to 
include ``any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any 
distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or 
wildlife which interbreeds when mature.'' On February 7, 1996, NMFS and 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS; together, the Services) 
adopted a policy describing what constitutes a DPS of a taxonomic 
species (61 FR 4722). The joint DPS policy identified two elements that 
must be considered when identifying a DPS: (1) The discreteness of the 
population segment in relation to the remainder of the species (or 
subspecies) to which it belongs; and (2) the significance of the 
population segment to the remainder of the species (or subspecies) to 
which it belongs. As stated in the joint DPS policy, Congress expressed 
its expectation that the Services would exercise authority with regard 
to DPSs sparingly and only when the biological evidence indicates such 
action is warranted.
    Section 3 of the ESA defines an endangered species as ``any species 
which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range'' and a threatened species as one ``which is 
likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future 
throughout all or a significant portion of its range.'' Thus,

[[Page 20719]]

in the context of the ESA, the Services interpret an ``endangered 
species'' to be one that is presently at risk of extinction. A 
``threatened species,'' on the other hand, is not currently at risk of 
extinction, but is likely to become so in the foreseeable future. In 
other words, a key statutory difference between a threatened and 
endangered species is the timing of when a species may be in danger of 
extinction, either now (endangered) or in the foreseeable future 
(threatened). The statute also requires us to determine whether any 
species is endangered or threatened as a result of any one or a 
combination of the following five factors: (A) The present or 
threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or 
range; (B) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade factors 
affecting its continued existence (ESA, section 4(a)(1)(A)-(E)). 
Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA requires us to make listing 
determinations based solely on the best scientific and commercial data 
available after conducting a review of the status of the species and 
after taking into account efforts being made by any State or foreign 
nation or political subdivision thereof to protect the species. In 
evaluating the efficacy of existing protective efforts, we rely on the 
Services' joint Policy on Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When 
Making Listing Decisions (``PECE''; 68 FR 15100; March 28, 2003). The 
PECE provides direction for consideration of conservation efforts that 
have not been implemented, or have been implemented but not yet 
demonstrated effectiveness.

Status Review

    We convened a team of agency scientists to conduct the status 
review for the species and prepare a report. The status review report 
of the scalloped hammerhead shark (Miller et al., 2013) compiles the 
best available information on the status of the scalloped hammerhead 
shark as required by the ESA, provides information on discreteness and 
significance of populations and potential DPSs, and assesses the 
current and future extinction risk for these scalloped hammerhead shark 
populations, focusing primarily on threats related to the five 
statutory factors set forth above. We appointed a contractor in the 
Office of Protected Resources Endangered Species Division to undertake 
a scientific review of the biology, population status and future 
outlook for the scalloped hammerhead shark. Next we convened a team of 
biologists and shark experts (Extinction Risk Analysis (ERA) team) to 
conduct an extinction risk analysis for the scalloped hammerhead shark 
populations, using the information in the scientific review. The ERA 
team was comprised of a fishery biologist from NMFS Office of Protected 
Resources, two fishery management specialists from NMFS' Highly 
Migratory Species Management Division, two research fishery biologists 
from NMFS' Southeast Fisheries Science Center and Pacific Island 
Fisheries Science Center, and a fishery biologist contractor with NMFS' 
Office of Protected Resources, with group expertise in shark biology 
and ecology, population dynamics, highly migratory species management, 
and stock assessment science. The status review report presents the ERA 
team's professional judgment of the extinction risk facing each 
population but makes no recommendation as to the listing status of 
each. The status review report is available electronically at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/scallopedhammerheadshark.htm.
    The status review report was peer reviewed by three scientists with 
scalloped hammerhead shark expertise from academic institutions. The 
peer reviewers were asked to evaluate the adequacy, appropriateness, 
and application of data used in the Status Review document as well to 
evaluate the findings made in the ``Assessment of Extinction Risk'' 
section of the report. We subsequently reviewed the status review 
report, its cited references, and peer review comments, and believe the 
status review report, upon which this proposed rule is based, provides 
the best available scientific and commercial information on the 
scalloped hammerhead shark. Much of the information discussed below on 
scalloped hammerhead shark biology, distribution, abundance, threats, 
and extinction risk is attributable to the status review report. 
However, we have independently applied the statutory provisions of the 
ESA, including evaluation of the factors set forth in Section 
4(a)(1)(A)-(E); our regulations regarding listing determinations; and 
our DPS policy in making the proposed listing determinations.

Life History, Biology, and Status of the Petitioned Species

Taxonomy and Species Description

    All hammerhead sharks belong to the family Sphyrnidae and are 
classified as ground sharks (Order Carcharhiniformes). Most hammerheads 
belong to the Genus Sphyrna with one exception, the winghead shark (E. 
blochii), which is the sole species in the Genus Eusphyra. The 
hammerhead sharks are recognized by their laterally expanded head that 
resembles a hammer, hence the common name ``hammerhead.'' The scalloped 
hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini) is distinguished from other 
hammerheads by a marked central indentation on the anterior margin of 
the head, along with two more indentations on each side of this central 
indentation, giving the head a ``scalloped'' appearance. It has a 
broadly arched mouth and the rear margin of the head is slightly swept 
backward. The dentition of the hammerhead consists of small, narrow, 
and triangular teeth with smooth edges (often slightly serrated in 
larger individuals), and is similar in both jaws. The front teeth are 
erect while subsequent teeth have oblique cusps, and the lower teeth 
are more erect than the upper teeth (Bester, n.d.).
    The body of the scalloped hammerhead is fusiform, with a large 
first dorsal fin and low second dorsal and pelvic fins. The first 
dorsal fin is moderately hooked with its origin over or slightly behind 
the pectoral fin insertions and the rear tip in front of the pelvic fin 
origins. The height of the second dorsal fin is less than the anal fin 
height and has a posterior margin that is approximately twice the 
height of the fin, with the free rear tip almost reaching the precaudal 
pit. The pelvic fins have relatively straight rear margins while the 
anal fin is deeply notched on the posterior margin (Compagno, 1984). 
The scalloped hammerhead shark generally has a uniform gray, grayish 
brown, bronze, or olive coloration on top of the body that shades to 
white on the underside with dusky or black pectoral fin tips.

Current Distribution

    The scalloped hammerhead shark can be found in coastal warm 
temperate and tropical seas worldwide. In the western Atlantic Ocean, 
the scalloped hammerhead range extends from the northeast coast of the 
United States (from New Jersey to Florida) to Brazil, including the 
Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. In the eastern Atlantic, it can be 
found from the Mediterranean to Namibia. Populations in the Indian 
Ocean are found in the following locations: South Africa and the Red 
Sea to Pakistan, India, and Myanmar, and in the western Pacific the 
scalloped hammerhead can be found from Japan and China to New 
Caledonia, including throughout the Philippines, Indonesia, and off 
Australia. Distribution in the

[[Page 20720]]

eastern Pacific Ocean extends from the coast of southern California 
(U.S.), including the Gulf of California, to Ecuador and possibly Peru 
(Compagno, 1984), and off waters of Hawaii (U.S.) and Tahiti. The 
scalloped hammerhead shark occurs over continental and insular shelves, 
as well as adjacent deep waters, but is seldom found in waters cooler 
than 22[deg] C (Compagno, 1984; Schulze-Haugen and Kohler, 2003). It 
ranges from the intertidal and surface to depths of up to 450-512 m 
(Sanches, 1991; Klimley, 1993), with occasional dives to even deeper 
waters (Jorgensen et al., 2009). It has also been documented entering 
enclosed bays and estuaries (Compagno, 1984).

Movement and Habitat Use

    Scalloped hammerhead sharks are highly mobile and partly migratory 
and are likely the most abundant of the hammerhead species (Maguire et 
al., 2006). These sharks have been observed making primarily short-
distance migrations along continental margins as well as between 
oceanic islands in tropical waters, with tagging studies revealing the 
tendency for scalloped hammerhead sharks to aggregate around and travel 
to and from core areas or ``hot spots'' within locations (Holland et 
al., 1993; Kohler and Turner, 2001; Duncan and Holland, 2006; Hearn et 
al., 2010; Bessudo et al., 2011; Diemer et al., 2011). However, 
scalloped hammerhead sharks are also capable of traveling long 
distances (1,941 km, Bessudo et al., 2011; 1,671 km, Kohler and Turner, 
2001; Hearn et al., 2010), and in many of these tagging studies the 
sharks were tracked leaving the study area for long periods of time, 
ranging from 2 weeks to several months (Hearn et al., 2010; Bessudo et 
al., 2011) to almost a year (324 days) (Duncan and Holland, 2006) 
before eventually returning, displaying a level of site fidelity to 
these areas.
    Both juveniles and adult scalloped hammerhead sharks occur as 
solitary individuals, pairs, or in schools. The schooling behavior has 
been documented during summer migrations off the coast of South Africa 
as well as in permanent resident populations, like those in the East 
China Sea (Compagno, 1984). Adult aggregations are most common offshore 
over seamounts and near islands, especially near the Galapagos, 
Malpelo, Cocos and Revillagigedo Islands, and within the Gulf of 
California (Compagno, 1984; CITES, 2010; Hearn et al., 2010; Bessudo et 
al., 2011). Neonate and juvenile aggregations are more common in 
nearshore nursery habitats, such as K[amacr]ne'ohe Bay in Oahu, Hawaii, 
coastal waters off Oaxaca, Mexico, and Guam's inner Apra Harbor (Duncan 
and Holland, 2006; Bejarano-[Aacute]lvarez et al., 2011). It has been 
suggested that juveniles inhabit these nursery areas for up to or more 
than a year, as they provide valuable refuges from predation (Duncan 
and Holland, 2006).

Diet

    The scalloped hammerhead shark is a high trophic level predator 
(trophic level = 4.1; Cort[eacute]s, 1999) and opportunistic feeder 
with a diet that includes a wide variety of teleosts, cephalopods, 
crustaceans, and rays (Compagno, 1984; Bush, 2003; J[uacute]nior et 
al., 2009; Noriega et al., 2011). In a study on feeding behavior in 
K[amacr]ne'ohe Bay, Bush (2003) found a nocturnal increase in the rate 
of foraging by juvenile scalloped hammerheads, with sharks consuming a 
mixture of crustaceans and teleosts. The alpheid and goby species were 
the most important prey items in their diet. Off the coast of Brazil, 
immature S. lewini frequently fed on reef and pelagic fish, as well as 
cephalopod species (Chiroteuthis sp. and Vampyroteuthis infernalis) 
that inhabit deep waters (J[uacute]nior et al., 2009). Stomachs of 466 
S. lewini off the coast of Australia revealed the importance of bony 
fish as a prey item, followed by elasmobranchs, octopus and squid, and 
baitfish, with a positive correlation between shark length and the 
proportion of elasmobranchs in stomach contents (Noriega et al., 2011).

Reproduction

    The scalloped hammerhead shark is viviparous (i.e., give birth to 
live young), with a gestation period of 9-12 months (Branstetter, 1987; 
Stevens and Lyle, 1989), which may be followed by a one-year resting 
period (Liu and Chen, 1999). Females attain maturity around 200-250 cm 
total length (TL) while males reach maturity at smaller sizes (range 
128-200 cm TL). Estimates of age at maturity vary by region, ranging 
from 3.8 to 15.2 years, but are likely a result of differences in band 
interpretations in aging methodology approaches (Piercy et al., 2007). 
Parturition, however, does not appear to vary by region and may be 
partially seasonal (Harry et al., 2011), with neonates present year 
round but with abundance peaking during the spring and summer months 
(Duncan and Holland, 2006; Adams and Paperno, 2007; Bejarano-
[Aacute]lvarez et al., 2011; Harry et al. 2011; Noriega et al., 2011). 
Females move inshore to birth, with litter sizes anywhere between 1 and 
41 live pups. Off the coast of northeastern Australia, Noriega et al. 
(2011) found a positive correlation between litter size and female 
shark length for scalloped hammerheads, as did White et al. (2008) in 
Indonesian waters. However, off the northeastern coast of Brazil, Hazin 
et al. (2001) found no such relationship.

Growth

    Total length at birth estimates range from 313 mm TL (Chen et al., 
1990) to 570 mm TL (White et al., 2008). Duncan and Holland (2006) 
calculated an early juvenile growth rate of 9.6 cm per year. Observed 
maximum sizes for male scalloped hammerheads range from 196-321 cm TL, 
with the oldest male scalloped hammerhead estimated at 30.5 years 
(Piercy et al., 2007). Observed maximum sizes for female scalloped 
hammerheads range from 217-346 cm TL, with the oldest female scalloped 
hammerhead estimated at 31.5 years (Kotas et al., 2011). Estimates of 
the von Bertalanffy growth parameters vary by study, location, and sex 
of the animal, with the following ranges: L[infin] = 212 to 519 cm TL, 
k = 0.05 to 0.25 year-1, t0 = -3.9 to -0.4 (see Miller et 
al., 2013).
    The life history of the scalloped hammerhead shark, like most 
elasmobranchs, is characterized as long lived (at least 20-30 years), 
late maturing, and relatively slow growing (based on Branstetter 
(1990), where k < 0.1/year indicates slow growth for sharks), which 
generally contributes to a low intrinsic rate of increase. Using life 
history parameters from the Atlantic S. lewini populations, estimates 
of the intrinsic rate of increase (r) for the scalloped hammerhead 
shark range from 0.028 (Smith et al., 1998) to 0.157 (Cort[eacute]s et 
al., 2010). Based on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the 
United Nations (FAO) productivity indices for exploited fish species 
(where r < 0.14 is considered low productivity), overall estimates of 
(r) values for the scalloped hammerhead shark indicate that S. lewini 
populations are generally vulnerable to depletion and may be slow to 
recover from overexploitation.

Current Status

    Scalloped hammerhead sharks can be found worldwide, with no present 
indication of a range contraction. The oldest living S. lewini 
populations are found in the central Indo-West Pacific, indicating this 
region as the origin of the species (Duncan et al., 2006; Daly-Engel et 
al., 2012). During the late Pleistocene period, S. lewini underwent 
several dispersal events (Duncan et al., 2006). Following the closing 
of the Isthmus of Panama, it was suggested that gene flow occurred from 
west to east, with S. lewini traveling from the Atlantic Ocean into the 
Indo-Pacific, via southern Africa (Duncan et al., 2006).

[[Page 20721]]

    Scalloped hammerhead sharks are both targeted and taken as bycatch 
in many global fisheries, with their fins a primary product for 
international trade. To a much lesser extent, scalloped hammerhead 
sharks are also caught for their meat (with Colombia, Kenya, Mexico, 
Mozambique, Philippines, Seychelles, Spain, Sri Lanka, China (Taiwan), 
Tanzania, and Uruguay identified as countries that consume hammerhead 
meat (Vannuccini, 1999; CITES, 2010)). However, given the fact that the 
meat is essentially unpalatable, due to its high urea concentration, it 
is thought that current volume of S. lewini traded meat and products is 
insignificant when compared to the volume of S. lewini fins in 
international trade (CITES, 2010). Unfortunately, the lack of species-
specific reporting in these trade products, as well as the scarcity of 
information on the fisheries catching scalloped hammerhead sharks prior 
to the early 1970s, with only occasional mentions in historical 
records, makes it difficult to assess the current worldwide scalloped 
hammerhead shark status.
    In 2007, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 
considered the scalloped hammerhead shark to be endangered globally, 
based on an assessment by Baum et al. (2007) and its own criteria (A2bd 
and 4bd), and placed the species on its ``Red List.'' Under criteria 
A2bd and 4bd, a species may be classified as endangered when its 
``observed, estimated, inferred or suspected'' population size is 
reduced by 50% or more over the last 10 years, any 10 year time period, 
or three generation period, whichever is the longer, and where the 
causes of reduction may not have ceased, be understood, or be 
reversible based on an index of abundance appropriate to the taxon and/
or the actual or potential levels of exploitation. IUCN justification 
for the categorization includes both species-specific estimates and 
estimates for the entire hammerhead family that suggest declines in 
abundance of 50-90 percent over time periods of up to 32 years in 
various regions of the species' range. The IUCN inferred similar 
declines in areas where species-specific data are unavailable, but 
where there is evidence of substantial fishing pressure on the 
scalloped hammerhead shark. As a note, the IUCN classification for the 
scalloped hammerhead shark alone does not provide the rationale for a 
listing recommendation under the ESA, but the sources of information 
that the classification is based upon are evaluated in light of the 
standards on extinction risk and impacts or threats to the species.

Identification of Distinct Population Segments

    As described above, the ESA's definition of ``species'' includes 
``any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct 
population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which 
interbreeds when mature.'' The genetic diversity among subpopulations, 
geographic isolation, and differences in international regulatory 
mechanisms provide evidence that several populations of scalloped 
hammerhead sharks meet the DPS Policy criteria. Therefore, prior to 
evaluating the conservation status for scalloped hammerhead sharks, and 
in accordance with the joint DPS policy, we considered: (1) The 
discreteness of any scalloped hammerhead shark population segment in 
relation to the remainder of the subspecies to which it belongs; and 
(2) the significance of any scalloped hammerhead shark population 
segment to the remainder of the subspecies to which it belongs.

Discreteness

    The Services' joint DPS policy states that a population of a 
vertebrate species may be considered discrete if it satisfies either 
one of the following conditions: (1) It is markedly separated from 
other populations of the same taxon as a consequence of physical, 
physiological, ecological, or behavioral factors (quantitative measures 
of genetic or morphological discontinuity may provide evidence of this 
separation) or (2) it is delimited by international governmental 
boundaries within which differences in control of exploitation, 
management of habitat, conservation status, or regulatory mechanisms 
exist that are significant in light of Section 4(a)(1)(D) of the ESA. 
To inform its decisions with respect to possible scalloped hammerhead 
DPSs, the ERA team mainly relied on genetic data, tagging studies, and 
evidence of differences in the control of exploitation and management 
by international governmental bodies.
    Although scalloped hammerhead sharks are highly mobile, this 
species rarely conducts trans-oceanic migrations (Kohler and Turner, 
2001; Duncan and Holland, 2006; Duncan et al., 2006; Chapman et al., 
2009; Diemer et al., 2011). Female scalloped hammerhead sharks may even 
display a level of site fidelity for reproduction purposes (Duncan et 
al., 2006; Chapman et al., 2009) that likely contributes to the 
apparent genetic discontinuity in the global scalloped hammerhead shark 
population (Duncan et al., 2006; Chapman et al., 2009; Daly-Engel et 
al., 2012). Genetics analyses for scalloped hammerhead sharks using 
mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is maternally inherited, and 
microsatellite loci data, which reflects the genetics of both parents, 
have consistently shown that scalloped hammerhead subpopulations are 
genetically diverse and that individual subpopulations can be 
differentiated, especially those populations separated by ocean basins 
(Duncan et al., 2006; Chapman et al., 2009; Ovenden et al., 2011; Daly-
Engel et al., 2012). Using mtDNA samples, Duncan et al. (2006) 
discovered no sharing of haplotypes between S. lewini in the Atlantic 
and those from the Pacific or Indian Ocean, proving genetic isolation 
by oceanic barriers. Chapman et al. (2009) further substantiated this 
finding in a subsequent examination of mtDNA from scalloped hammerhead 
shark fins, confirming the absence of shared haplotypes between S. 
lewini in the western Atlantic (n = 177) and those found in the Indo-
Pacific (n = 275). Using microsatellite loci from 403 S. lewini 
samples, Daly-Engel et al. (2012) concluded that scalloped hammerhead 
sharks in the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean were significantly 
differentiated from other populations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, 
suggesting that the male sharks in the Atlantic Ocean rarely mix with 
scalloped hammerheads found elsewhere in the world.

Atlantic Ocean Population Segments

    Further delineation within ocean basins is supported by regional 
and global genetic studies as well as tagging data. For example, in the 
Atlantic, both mitochondrial and microsatellite data indicate genetic 
discontinuity within this ocean basin, with distinct populations of 
scalloped hammerhead sharks defined by their respective coasts. 
Analysis of S. lewini haplotypes from samples taken off West Africa and 
the East Coast of the United States reveal genetic separation of these 
two populations and point to missing hypothetical ancestors (Duncan et 
al., 2006). Using biparentally-inherited DNA, Daly-Engel et al. (2012) 
also provided evidence of genetic structure across the Atlantic Ocean, 
with scalloped hammerhead samples from West Africa weakly 
differentiated from South Carolina samples (FST = 0.052, 
0.05 >= P >= 0.01) and significantly differentiated from Gulf of Mexico 
samples (FST = 0.312, P <= 0.001). These studies confirm the 
genetic isolation of the eastern and western Atlantic scalloped 
hammerhead populations,

[[Page 20722]]

which should be treated as separate and discrete populations (Chapman 
personal communication, 2012).
    Finer scale delineation within the western Atlantic population is 
also warranted based on analysis of both maternally and bi-parentally 
inherited DNA; however, the boundaries of this delineation are 
unresolved. For example, Chapman et al. (2009) structured the western 
Atlantic scalloped hammerhead population into three distinct 
mitochondrial stocks: the northern (U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico), 
central (Central American Caribbean), and southern (Brazil) stocks. 
Daly-Engel et al. (2012), on the other hand, found significant 
population differentiation in between the Gulf of Mexico and the nearby 
South Carolina site in the western Atlantic (FST = 0.201, P 
< 0.001) using microsatellite fragments. This finding contrasts with 
Chapman et al. (2009) who did not find significant population 
differentiation between S. lewini in the U.S. Atlantic and the Gulf of 
Mexico, and Duncan et al. (2006) who found a lack of genetic structure 
along continental margins using mtDNA samples. Thus, although the 
genetic data support dividing the western Atlantic population into 
subpopulations, there is disagreement on where the lines should be 
drawn.
    Since differences in genetic composition can sometimes be explained 
by the behavior of a species, the ERA team examined tagging data to 
learn more about the movements of the scalloped hammerhead populations 
along the western Atlantic coast. The available data corroborate the 
genetic findings that these populations of scalloped hammerhead sharks 
rarely travel long distances. In fact, the median distance between mark 
and recapture of 3,278 adult scalloped hammerhead sharks, tagged along 
the eastern U.S. coast and Gulf of Mexico, was less than 100 km (Kohler 
and Turner, 2001). In addition, none of these tagged sharks were 
tracked moving south (Kohler personal communication, 2012), indicating 
a potential separation of the northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico 
population from the Central and South American population based on 
movement behavior (Kohler personal communication, 2012).
    To further inform its decisions as to whether there is discreteness 
amongst the western Atlantic scalloped hammerhead subpopulations, the 
ERA team looked at possible differences in current conservation status 
and regulatory mechanisms across international boundaries. In the 
northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, the United States has 
implemented strict regulations aimed at controlling the exploitation of 
the sharks, including the scalloped hammerhead, with the development of 
fishery management plans (FMPs), requirement for stock assessments, and 
quota monitoring. On August 29, 2011, NMFS prohibited the taking of 
scalloped hammerhead sharks by the U.S. commercial highly migratory 
species (HMS) pelagic longline fishery and recreational fisheries for 
tunas, swordfish, and billfish in the Atlantic Ocean, including the 
Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico (76 FR 53652; August 29, 2011). These 
comprehensive regulatory mechanisms are expected to help protect S. 
lewini in the northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Although the U.S. 
regulations extend to the U.S. economic exclusive zone (EEZ) in the 
Caribbean (i.e., surrounding U.S. territories), the vast majority of 
the Caribbean sea, as well as waters farther south, lack regulatory 
measures controlling the exploitation of scalloped hammerheads. For 
example, Brazil, a country that has seen declines of 80 percent or more 
in catch per unit effort (CPUE) of scalloped hammerheads in various 
fisheries (FAO, 2010), does not have regulations specific to scalloped 
hammerhead sharks or quota monitoring of the species. Many countries in 
Central America are also either lacking protections for shark species 
or have major problems with enforcement of their respective fishery 
regulations (Kyne et al., 2012). Thus, the species continues to be 
heavily fished for by industrial and artisanal fishers in waters off 
Central and South America. Due to these differences in control of 
exploitation and regulatory mechanisms for management and conservation 
of this species across international boundaries, and coupled with the 
results from the genetic analyses and tagging studies, the ERA team 
concluded that the western Atlantic population is, in fact, two 
discrete subpopulations: the Northwest Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico 
population and the Central & Southwest Atlantic population. We find 
both of these population segments satisfy the discreteness criterion 
under the DPS policy.

Indo-West Pacific Population Segments

    Within the Indo-West Pacific region, a lack of genetic structure 
suggests frequent mixing of scalloped hammerhead populations found in 
these waters (Daly-Engel et al., 2012). A comparison of microsatellite 
loci samples from the Indian Ocean, specifically samples from the 
Seychelles and West Australia, as well as from South Africa and West 
Australia, indicated either no or weak population differentiation 
(Daly-Engel et al., 2012). Additionally, there was no evidence of 
genetic structure between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as samples 
from Taiwan, Philippines, and East Australia in the western Pacific 
showed no population differentiation from samples in the Indian Ocean 
(FST = -0.018, P = 0.470) (Daly-Engel et al., 2012). 
Although these genetic data may imply that males of the species move 
widely within this region, potentially across ocean basins, tagging 
studies suggest otherwise. Along the east coast of South Africa, for 
example, S. lewini moved an average distance of only 147.8 km (data 
from 641 tagged scalloped hammerheads; Diemer et al., 2011). Tagging 
studies in other regions also suggest limited distance movements, and 
only along continental margins, coastlines, or between islands with 
similar oceanographic conditions (Kohler and Turner, 2001; Duncan and 
Holland, 2006; Bessudo et al., 2011). Thus, it seems more likely that 
the high connectivity of the habitats found along the Indian and 
western Pacific coasts has provided a means for this shark population 
to mix and reproduce without having to traverse deep ocean basins. In 
fact, along the east coast of Australia, Ovenden et al. (2011) found 
evidence of only one genetic stock of S. lewini. The samples, spanning 
almost 2,000 km of coastline on Australia's east coast, showed genetic 
homogeneity based on eight microsatellite loci and mtDNA markers, 
suggesting long-shore dispersal and panmixia of scalloped hammerhead 
sharks (Ovenden et al., 2011). No genetic subdivision existed between 
Indonesia and the eastern or northern coasts of Australia, suggesting 
this species may move widely between the connecting habitats of 
Australia and Indonesia (Ovenden et al., 2009; Ovenden et al., 2011).
    Although the aforementioned genetic analyses suggest males of the 
Indo-West Pacific population appear to make longer distance coastal 
movements than what the Atlantic subpopulations typically exhibit 
(Daly-Engel et al., 2012), they have not been observed mixing with the 
neighboring eastern Atlantic population of sharks. The significant 
levels of genetic structure between S. lewini microsatellite samples 
from South Africa and those from West Africa samples (FST = 
0.07, P <= 0.01) corroborate this finding, with the number of migrants 
moving between these two locations estimated at 0.06 to 0.99 per 
generation (Daly-Engel et al., 2012). Thus, although connected by a 
continuous coastline, the genetic data

[[Page 20723]]

indicate that the eastern Atlantic population and Indo-West Pacific 
populations rarely mix and qualify as discrete populations due to these 
genetic differences.

Pacific Ocean Population Segments

    In addition to the Indo-West Pacific population, the ERA team found 
evidence of two other possible subpopulations of scalloped hammerheads 
in the Pacific Ocean: those common in the Central Pacific region and 
those found in the East Pacific region. The Central Pacific 
subpopulation of scalloped hammerheads appears to be markedly separate 
from other S. lewini populations within the Pacific Ocean as a 
consequence of physical and genetic factors. The Central Pacific 
population is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Their range 
primarily encompasses the Hawaiian Archipelago, which includes the 
inhabited main islands in the southeast as well as the largely 
uninhabited Papah[amacr]naumoku[amacr]kea Marine National Monument that 
extends from Nihoa to Kure Atoll in the northwest. Johnston Atoll is 
also included in this population's range due to its proximity to the 
Hawaiian Archipelago. In order to reach the other neighboring 
populations in the western and eastern Pacific, the Central Pacific 
scalloped hammerhead sharks would have to travel over hundreds to 
thousands of kilometers, overcoming various bathymetric barriers. 
However, as previously mentioned, tagging studies and mtDNA analyses 
suggest this species rarely makes long-distance oceanic migrations. 
Instead, the data support the assumption that this species more 
commonly disperses along continuous coastlines, continental margins, 
and submarine features, such as chains of seamounts, commonly 
associated with scalloped hammerhead shark ``hotspots'' (Holland et 
al., 1993; Kohler and Turner, 2001; Duncan and Holland, 2006; Hearn et 
al., 2010; Bessudo et al., 2011; Diemer et al., 2011). This is true 
even for island populations, with tagged S. lewini individuals 
frequently migrating to nearby islands and mainlands (Duncan and 
Holland, 2006; Hearn et al., 2010; Bessudo et al., 2011), but no 
evidence or data to support oceanic migration behavior.
    For example, Bessudo et al. (2011) observed scalloped hammerhead 
sharks in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) and noted that although 
they are capable of covering long distances (i.e., 1941 km), the sharks 
remain within the area, moving widely around and occasionally between 
neighboring islands with similar oceanographic conditions. A study 
conducted in a nursery ground in Hawaii revealed that sharks travelled 
as far as 5.1 km in the same day, but the mean distance between capture 
points was only 1.6 km (Duncan and Holland, 2006). Another tagging 
study in Hawaii indicates that adult males remain ``coastal'' within 
the archipelago (Holland personal communication, 2012). The genetic 
data from scalloped hammerhead populations also supports this theory of 
limited oceanic dispersal, with significant genetic discontinuity 
associated with oceanic barriers but less so along continental margins 
(Duncan et al., 2006; Chapman et al., 2009; Daly-Engel et al., 2012). 
With regards to the S. lewini sharks in Central Pacific and Eastern 
Pacific, both microsatellite loci and mtDNA data indicate significant 
genetic differentiation between these two populations (Daly-Engel et 
al., 2011), corroborating the theory of genetic isolation due to 
biogeographic barriers. Thus, these genetic analyses, coupled with the 
tagging studies, suggest that the populations of scalloped hammerhead 
sharks found in the Pacific (i.e. Indo-West Pacific, Central Pacific, 
and East Pacific subpopulations) rarely conduct open ocean migrations 
(Kohler and Turner, 2001; Bessudo et al., 2011; Diemer et al., 2011; 
Holland personal communication, 2012) to mix or reproduce with each 
other.
    Further separating these subpopulations, especially the Central 
Pacific scalloped hammerhead population from its neighboring western 
and eastern Pacific populations, are the differences in fisheries 
regulations across these international boundaries. The Central Pacific 
currently has many management controls in place that protect important 
scalloped hammerhead habitats and nursery grounds, as well as fishing 
regulations that control the exploitation of the species. For example, 
the fisheries of the Hawaiian Islands are managed by both Federal 
regulations, such as the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (MSA), and state regulations aimed at protecting and 
conserving marine resources. Currently, there are no directed shark 
fisheries in Hawaii; however, scalloped hammerheads are sometimes 
caught as bycatch on Hawaiian longline gear. The Hawaii pelagic 
longline (PLL) fishery, which operates mainly in the Northern Central 
Pacific Ocean, is managed through a Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) 
developed by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council 
(WPFMC) and approved by NMFS under the authority of the MSA. In an 
effort to reduce bycatch in this fishery, a number of gear regulations 
and fishery management measures have been implemented. For example, a 
50-75 nm (92.6-138.9 km) longline fishing buffer zone exists around the 
Hawaiian Islands, helping to protect scalloped hammerheads from being 
caught near popular nursery grounds and their coastal adult habitat. 
Periodic closures and effort limits in the shallow-set sector of this 
fishery (which has a higher shark catch rate) also helps protect 
scalloped hammerheads in this fishery.
    In addition, mandatory fishery observers have been monitoring both 
sectors (shallow and deep) of the limited-entry Hawaii-based PLL 
fishery since 1994, with observer coverage increasing in recent years 
to provide a more comprehensive bycatch dataset. Shark finning, a 
practice which involves harvesting sharks, severing their fins and 
returning their remaining carcasses to the sea, was banned in 2000 for 
the Hawaii-based longline fishery. Additionally, the U.S. Shark 
Conservation Act of 2010 requires that sharks lawfully harvested in 
Federal waters, including those located in the range of this DPS, be 
landed with their fins naturally attached, and additional legislation 
aimed at shark finning was enacted in 2010 by the State of Hawaii 
(State of Hawaii SB2169). In the neighboring ETP, as well as other 
islands and countries in the western Pacific, regulatory mechanisms are 
either missing, inadequate, or weakly enforced, and illegal fishing is 
widespread. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the differences 
in the control of exploitation and regulatory mechanisms between the 
Central Pacific and the surrounding countries could influence the 
conservation status of the scalloped hammerhead population around the 
Central Pacific region and thus could be considered a discrete 
population under the DPS policy.
    In the eastern Pacific region, results from both microsatellite 
loci data and mtDNA confirm the genetic isolation of the eastern 
Pacific S. lewini population from those found in the central and 
western Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans (P <= 0.001) (Daly-Engel 
et al., 2012). Nance et al. (2011) suggested that the ETP S. lewini 
population may actually exist as a series of small and genetically 
separate populations. This observed low genetic diversity in the 
eastern Pacific population may indicate peripatric speciation (i.e., 
formation of new species in isolated peripheral populations that are 
much smaller than

[[Page 20724]]

the original population) from the Indo-West Pacific hammerhead 
population (Duncan et al., 2006). Interestingly, when compared to 
samples from the Gulf of Mexico, Daly-Engel et al. (2012) found high 
levels of allelic differentiation (FST = 0.519, P <= 0.001), 
suggesting that these two populations have never mixed and thus make up 
the opposing ends of the S. lewini dispersal range from the Indo-West 
Pacific. The genetic differentiation and geographic isolation of the 
Eastern Pacific population from other scalloped hammerhead populations 
thus qualify it as a discrete population under the DPS policy.
    Based on the above information on scalloped hammerhead population 
structuring, as well as additional information provided in the status 
review report, we have concluded that the following six discrete 
subpopulations of scalloped hammerhead sharks are present in the world: 
(1) Northwest Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico population segment, (2) Central 
& Southwest Atlantic population segment, (3) Eastern Atlantic 
population segment, (4) Indo-West Pacific population segment, (5) 
Central Pacific population segment, and (6) Eastern Pacific population 
segment. Each is markedly separate from the other five population 
segments as a consequence of genetic and/or physical factors, with some 
population segments also delimited by international governmental 
boundaries within which differences in control of exploitation, 
conservation status, or regulatory mechanisms exist that are 
significant in light of Section 4(a)(1)(D) of the ESA.

Significance

    When the discreteness criterion is met for a potential DPS, as it 
is for the Northwest Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico, Central & Southwest 
Atlantic, Eastern Atlantic, Indo-West Pacific, Central Pacific, and 
Eastern Pacific population segments identified above, the second 
element that must be considered under the DPS policy is significance of 
each DPS to the taxon as a whole. Significance is evaluated in terms of 
the importance of the population segment to the overall welfare of the 
species. Some of the considerations that can be used to determine a 
discrete population segment's significance to the taxon as a whole 
include: (1) Persistence of the population segment in an unusual or 
unique ecological setting; (2) evidence that loss of the population 
segment would result in a significant gap in the range of the taxon; 
and (3) evidence that the population segment differs markedly from 
other populations of the species in its genetic characteristics.
    Based on the results from the genetic and tagging analyses 
mentioned previously, we believe that there is evidence that loss of 
any of the population segments would result in a significant gap in the 
range of the taxon. For example, the Indo-West Pacific region, which is 
hypothesized as the center of origin for S. lewini, with the oldest 
extant scalloped hammerhead species found in this region (Duncan et 
al., 2006; Daly-Engel et al., 2012), covers a wide swath of the 
scalloped hammerhead sharks' range (extending from South Africa to 
Japan, and south to Australia and New Caledonia and neighboring Island 
countries). However, as Daly-Engel et al. (2012) notes, the migration 
rate of S. lewini individuals from West Africa into South Africa is 
very low (0.06 individuals per generation), suggesting that in the case 
of an Indo-West Pacific extirpation, re-colonization from the Eastern 
Atlantic to the Western Indian Ocean is very unlikely. In addition, re-
colonization from the Central Pacific DPS would also occur rather 
slowly (on an evolutionary timescale) as those individuals would have 
to conduct trans-oceanic migrations, a behavior that has yet to be 
documented in this species. The Central Pacific region, itself 
(extending from Kure Atoll to Johnston Atoll, and including the 
Hawaiian Archipelago), encompasses a vast portion of the scalloped 
hammerhead sharks' range in the Pacific Ocean and is isolated from the 
neighboring Indo-West Pacific and eastern Pacific regions by deep 
expanses of water. Loss of this DPS would result in a decline in the 
number of suitable and productive nursery habitats and create a 
significant gap in the range of this taxon across the Pacific Ocean. 
From an evolutionary standpoint, the Central Pacific population is 
thought to be the ``stepping stone'' for colonization to the isolated 
ETP, as Duncan et al. (2006) observed two shared haplotypes between 
Hawaii and the otherwise isolated ETP population. In other words, in 
the case of an ETP extirpation and loss of the Central Pacific 
population, it would require two separate and rare colonization events 
to repopulate the ETP population: one for the re-colonization of the 
Central Pacific and another for the re-colonization of the ETP. Thus, 
on an evolutionary timescale, loss of the Central Pacific population 
would result in a significant truncation in the range of the taxon.
    Even those discrete population segments that share a connecting 
coastline, like the Northwest Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico and Central & 
Southwest Atlantic population segments, will not likely see individuals 
re-colonizing the other population segment, given that gene flow is low 
between these areas and tagging studies show limited distance movements 
by individuals along the western Atlantic coast. In addition, 
repopulation by individuals from the eastern Pacific to the western 
Atlantic, or vice versa, is highly unlikely as these animals would have 
to migrate through suboptimal oceanographic conditions, such as very 
cold waters, that are detrimental to this species' survival. Therefore, 
the display of weak philopatry and constrained migratory movements 
provides evidence that loss of any of the discrete population segments 
would result in a significant gap in the range of the scalloped 
hammerhead shark, negatively impacting the species as a whole.
    In summary, the scalloped hammerhead shark population segments 
considered by the ERA team meet both the discreteness and significance 
criterion of the DPS policy. We concur with the ERA team's conclusion 
that there are six scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs, which comprise the 
global population, and are hereafter referred to as: (1) NW Atlantic & 
GOM DPS, (2) Central & SW Atlantic DPS, (3) Eastern Atlantic DPS, (4) 
Indo-West Pacific DPS, (5) Central Pacific DPS, and (6) Eastern Pacific 
DPS. The boundaries for each of these DPSs, as determined from the DPS 
analysis, are as follows (see Figure 1):
    (1) NW Atlantic & GOM DPS--Bounded to the north by 40[deg] N. 
latitude (lat.), includes all U.S. EEZ waters in the Northwest Atlantic 
and extends due east along 28[deg] N. lat. off the coast of Florida to 
30[deg] W. longitude (long.). In the Gulf of Mexico, the boundary line 
includes all waters of the Gulf of Mexico, with the eastern portion 
bounded by the U.S. and Mexico EEZ borders.
    (2) Central & SW Atlantic DPS--Bounded to the north by 28[deg] N. 
lat., to the east by 30[deg] W. long., and to the south by 36[deg] S. 
lat. All waters of the Caribbean Sea are within this DPS boundary, 
including the Bahamas' EEZ off the coast of Florida as well as Cuba's 
EEZ.
    (3) Eastern Atlantic DPS--Bounded to the west by 30[deg] W. long., 
to the north by 40[deg] N. lat., to the south by 36[deg] S. lat., and 
to the east by 20[deg] E. long., but includes all waters of the 
Mediterranean Sea.
    (4) Indo-West Pacific DPS--Bounded to the south by 36[deg] S. lat., 
to the west by 15[deg] E. long., and to the north by 40[deg] N. lat. In 
the east, the boundary line extends from 175[deg] W. long. due south to 
10[deg] N. lat., then due east along 10[deg] N.

[[Page 20725]]

lat. to 140[deg] W. long., then due south to 4[deg] S. lat., then due 
east along 4[deg] S. lat. to 130[deg] W. long, and then extends due 
south along 130[deg] W. long.
    (5) Central Pacific DPS--Bounded to the north by 40[deg] N lat., to 
the east by 140[deg] W. long., to the south by 10[deg] N. lat., and to 
the west by 175[deg] E. long.
    (6) Eastern Pacific DPS--bounded to the north by 40[deg] N lat. and 
to the south by 36[deg] S lat. The western boundary line extends from 
140[deg] W. long. due south to 10[deg] N., then due west along 10[deg] 
N. lat. to 140[deg] W. long., then due south to 4[deg] S. lat., then 
due east along 4[deg] S. lat. to 130[deg] W. long, and then extends due 
south along 130[deg] W. long.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP05AP13.001

Assessment of Extinction Risk

    The Endangered Species Act (ESA) (Section 3) defines endangered 
species as ``any species which is in danger of extinction throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range.'' Threatened species are 
``any species which is likely to become an endangered species within 
the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range.'' Neither we nor the USFWS have developed any formal policy 
guidance about how to interpret the definitions of threatened and 
endangered. We consider a variety of information and apply professional 
judgment in evaluating the level of risk faced by a species in deciding 
whether the species is threatened or endangered. We evaluate both 
demographic risks, such as low abundance and productivity, and threats 
to the species including those related to the factors specified by the 
ESA Section 4(a)(1)(A)-(E).

Methods

    As we have explained, we convened an ERA team to evaluate 
extinction risk to the species. This section discusses the methods used 
to evaluate threats to each DPS and draw overall extinction risk 
conclusions for each. As explained further down in this notice, we have 
separately taken into account other conservation efforts which have the 
potential to reduce threats identified by the ERA team.
    For purposes of the risk assessment, an ERA team comprised of 
fishery biologists and shark experts was convened to review the best 
available information on the species and evaluate the overall risk of 
extinction facing the scalloped hammerhead shark now and in the 
foreseeable future. The term ``foreseeable future'' was defined as the 
timeframe over which threats could be reliably predicted to impact the 
biological status of the species. After considering the life history of 
the scalloped hammerhead shark, availability of data, and type of 
threats, the ERA team decided that the foreseeable future should be 
defined as approximately 3 generation times for the scalloped 
hammerhead shark, or 50 years. (A generation time is defined as the 
time it takes, on average, for a sexually mature female scalloped 
hammerhead shark to be replaced by offspring with the same spawning 
capacity). This timeframe (3 generation times) takes into account the 
time necessary to provide for the conservation and recovery of the 
species. As a late-maturing species, with slow growth rate and low 
productivity, it would likely take more than a generation time for any 
conservative management action to be realized and reflected in 
population abundance indices (as evidenced by the slow recovery of the 
NW Atlantic & GOM DPS discussed below).
    In addition, the foreseeable future timeframe is also a function of 
the reliability of available data regarding the identified threats and 
extends only as far as the data allow for making reasonable predictions 
about the species' response to those threats. The ERA team considered 
extending foreseeable future out to 100 years as well, but after 
discussion, agreed that

[[Page 20726]]

they could not reliably predict the severity of threats, such as 
overutilization or inadequacy of regulatory measures, with any 
certainty past 50 years, given the changing nature of international and 
national fishery management and push towards conservation and control 
of illegal fishing. (As an aside, the timeframe of 3 generations is a 
widely used scientific indicator of biological status, and has been 
applied in decision making models by many other conservation management 
bodies, including the American Fisheries Society, the CITES, and the 
IUCN.)
    Often the ability to measure or document risk factors is limited, 
and information is not quantitative or very often lacking altogether. 
Therefore, in assessing risk, it is important to include both 
qualitative and quantitative information. In previous NMFS status 
reviews, Biological Review Teams have used a risk matrix method to 
organize and summarize the professional judgment of a panel of 
knowledgeable scientists. This approach is described in detail by 
Wainright and Kope (1999) and has been used in Pacific salmonid status 
reviews as well as in the status reviews of many other species (see 
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/ for links to these reviews). In 
the risk matrix approach, the collective condition of individual 
populations is summarized at the DPS level according to four 
demographic risk criteria: Abundance, growth rate/productivity, spatial 
structure/connectivity, and diversity. These viability criteria, 
outlined in McElhany et al. (2000), reflect concepts that are well-
founded in conservation biology and that individually and collectively 
provide strong indicators of extinction risk.
    Using these concepts, the ERA team estimated the extinction risk of 
each scalloped hammerhead shark DPS based on current and future 
demographic risks by assigning a risk score to each of the four 
demographic criteria. The scoring for the risk criteria correspond to 
the following values: 1--no or very low risk, 2--low risk, 3--moderate 
risk, 4--high risk, and 5--very high risk. Likewise, the ERA team 
performed a threats assessment for each DPS by scoring the severity of 
current threats to the DPS as well as predicting whether the threat 
will increase, decrease, or stay the same in the foreseeable future. 
Detailed definitions of these risk scores can be found in the status 
review report. The scores were tallied (mode, median, range), reviewed 
by the ERA team, and considered in making the overall risk 
determination. Although this process helps to integrate and summarize a 
large amount of diverse information, there is no simple way to 
translate the risk matrix scores directly into a determination of 
overall extinction risk. Other descriptive statistics, such as mean, 
variance, and standard deviation, were not calculated as the ERA team 
felt these metrics would add artificial precision or accuracy to the 
results.
    Guided by the results from the demographics risk analyses as well 
as the threats assessment, the ERA team members were asked to use their 
informed professional judgment to make an overall extinction risk 
determination for each DPS now and in the foreseeable future. For this 
analysis, the ERA team again defined five levels of extinction risk: 
1--no or very low risk, 2--low risk, 3--moderate risk, 4--high risk, 
and 5--very high risk: however, the definitions differ slightly from 
those used in the demographic and threats assessment, and can be found 
in the status review report. To allow individuals to express 
uncertainty in determining the overall level of extinction risk facing 
the species, the ERA team adopted the ``likelihood point'' (FEMAT) 
method. This approach has been used in previous NMFS status reviews 
(e.g., Pacific salmon, Southern Resident killer whale, Puget Sound 
rockfish, Pacific herring, and black abalone) to structure the team's 
thinking and express levels of uncertainty when assigning risk 
categories. For this approach, each team member distributed 10 
`likelihood points' among the five levels of risks. The scores were 
then tallied (mode, median, range) and summarized for each DPS.
    Finally, the ERA team did not make recommendations as to whether 
the species should be listed as threatened or endangered. Rather, the 
ERA team drew scientific conclusions about the overall risk of 
extinction faced by each DPS under present conditions and in the 
foreseeable future based on an evaluation of the species' demographic 
risks and assessment of threats.

Demographic Data Reviewed by the ERA Team

    The amount of available data on scalloped hammerhead shark 
abundance and trends varies by DPS. The abundance status of the NW 
Atlantic & GOM DPS is likely the best understood, with over 2 decades 
of data available from multiple recreational and commercial sources and 
analyzed in a recent stock assessment by Hayes et al. (2009). 
Recreational catch data used in this stock assessment were collected by 
the NMFS Marine Recreational Fishery Statistics Survey, NMFS' Southeast 
Region Headboat Survey, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 
Marine Recreational Fishing Survey. These surveys have been in 
operation since the early 1970s and provide estimates of total catch 
data and CPUE data through random-dial telephone surveys, dockside 
intercept sampling programs, and self-reported logbook or daily catch 
record surveys. As these surveys do not provide data to estimate catch 
in biomass, the recreational survey data was only analyzed in terms of 
numbers of individual sharks. Commercial catch data used in the stock 
assessment were collected by the NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science 
Center from the Pelagic Dealer Compliance database and from the 
Accumulated Landings Systems. Landings weights were converted into 
catch numbers by dividing the weight by an average weight of the 
individual animal as reported in the Commercial Shark Fishery Observer 
Program. In this way, recreational and commercial catch numbers could 
be directly compared. Discard estimates specifically for scalloped 
hammerheads are not available before 1987 or after 2001 (due to S. 
lewini being lumped into a larger dealer report category), so estimates 
for these years were based on average discards in 1987-1992 and 1993-
2001, respectively. Additionally, no catch was assumed to take place 
prior to 1981 based on insufficient catch data available before that 
year. This assumption was tested through sensitivity analyses and 
subsequently accepted by Hayes et al. (2009).
    For the stock assessment, indices of relative abundance from 
fishery-dependent and -independent data were estimated for inclusion in 
surplus-production models to determine population projections and 
rebuilding probabilities. Fishery dependent indices were estimated 
through CPUE data provided by commercial fishery logbooks and observer 
programs and standardized according to the Lo method (Lo et al., 1992). 
Fishery-independent surveys are less biased indices of abundance and 
were included in the models after standardization. Fishery-independent 
surveys are assumed to more accurately reflect population abundance due 
to their standardized sampling methods that are designed not to target 
specific concentrations of fish. The three fishery-independent surveys 
that were included in the stock assessment models are: the NMFS 
Pascagoula longline survey, which uses a standardized, random sampling 
design stratified by depth and covering the western Gulf of Mexico to 
North Carolina along the U.S.

[[Page 20727]]

southeastern Atlantic seaboard; the NMFS Panama city Gillnet Survey, 
which uses a standardized sampling design, with monofilament gillnets 
set at fixed stations monthly from April to October in shallow, coastal 
areas of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico close to the Florida 
panhandle; and the North Carolina longline survey, which uses a 
standardized sampling design, with unanchored longlines set biweekly 
off the central coast of North Carolina near Cape Lookout.
    In addition to the stock assessment, the ERA team also considered 
other data sources of abundance estimates. This included a study by 
Ferretti et al. (2008), which provided historical records of shark 
catches from the Mediterranean Sea; however, the ERA team had concerns 
about the species-level identifications in the study. Some CPUE 
information, providing long-term trends data, was available from beach 
netting programs off the coasts of South Africa and Australia. The 
methods and materials from these beach protection programs have largely 
remained the same over the years, providing a good source of fishery-
independent data. In South Africa, the beach protection programs have 
been in place since the early 1950s, providing catch rates of scalloped 
hammerhead sharks off various beaches from 1952 to 2003. In Australia, 
catch data from shark control programs off the coast of Queensland is 
available from 1986 to 2010. Other data sources for abundance analyses 
include: estimates of breeding individuals and pups from a scalloped 
hammerhead nursery ground in Hawaii, diver sighting reports from 1992-
2004 in protected waters of the eastern Pacific, and estimates of the 
rate of population decline in the Gulf of Tehuantepac, Mexico.
    Growth and productivity analyses were primarily based on data 
collected from scalloped hammerhead populations in the Atlantic Ocean 
as there is some scientific disagreement on the aging methodology used 
to interpret growth bands in studies on S. lewini from the Pacific 
Ocean. Scalloped hammerhead sharks develop opaque bands on their 
vertebrae, which are used to estimate age. For some studies conducted 
in the eastern and western Pacific, band formation was assumed to occur 
bi-annually, whereas in the Atlantic, bands were assumed to form 
annually (see Miller et al., 2013). Although indirect age validation 
studies for S. lewini are still inconclusive, bomb radiocarbon and 
calcein methods (direct age validation methods) have been used to 
validate annual growth bands for two other species of Sphyrna, 
including the great hammerhead shark (S. mokarran) and the bonnethead 
shark (S. tiburo) (Parsons, 1993; Passerotti et al., 2010). Therefore, 
it seems more likely that the scalloped hammerhead shark undergoes 
annual band formation, as has been found in other chondrichthyan growth 
studies (Campana et al., 2002; Okamura and Semba, 2009), and this 
assumption was used when examining age maturity, growth, and 
productivity estimates.
    For spatial structure/connectivity the ERA team considered the 
current and historical range of the taxon and the habitat requirements 
and physical characteristics of the habitat as documented in the 
scientific literature. With respect to diversity, the ERA team examined 
the genetic data, which provided estimates of migration rates per 
generation, and analyzed any potential threats of genetic bottlenecking 
or other ecological and human-caused factors that could substantially 
alter the rate of gene flow in the DPS.

Evaluation of Demographic Risks

NW Atlantic & GOM DPS

    A recent assessment for the northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico 
scalloped hammerhead shark stock concluded that the population has 
declined by over 80 percent since 1981 (Hayes et al., 2009). Other 
studies have also reported similar decreases in S. lewini populations 
along the western Atlantic coast. For example, Baum et al. (2003) 
calculated that the northwest Atlantic population of S. lewini has 
declined 89 percent since 1986; however, this study is controversial 
due to its reliance on only pelagic longline logbook data. Off the 
southeastern U.S. coast, Beerkircher et al. (2002) observed significant 
declines in nominal CPUE for S. lewini between 1981-1983 (CPUE = 13.37; 
Berkeley and Campos, 1988) and 1992-2000 (CPUE = 0.48). On a smaller 
scale, Myers et al. (2007) documented a 98 percent decline of the S. 
lewini population off the coast of North Carolina between 1972 and 
2003, using standardized CPUE data from shark targeted, fishery-
independent surveys. However, the authors also discovered a significant 
increase in juvenile scalloped hammerheads (instantaneous rate of 
change = 0.094) from 1989 to 2005. Comparing estimates of population 
size off the coast of South Carolina, Ulrich (1996) reported a 66 
percent decrease between 1983-1984 and 1991-1995. Although these 
declines in former abundance numbers are significant, the latest stock 
assessment for this DPS found that population numbers have remained 
fairly stable since 1995 (Hayes et al., 2009). The stock assessment 
also predicted a 91 percent probability of the population rebuilding 
within 30 years under 2005 catch levels. From 2006 to 2010, the U.S. 
scalloped hammerhead harvest has been below this 2005 catch level. In 
addition, stronger management measures have been implemented in this 
fishery, with a scalloped hammerhead shark rebuilding plan expected in 
2013, which we believe will substantially contribute to continued 
increases in abundance and stability of this DPS. As such, the ERA team 
concluded, and we agree, that the future levels of abundance of the NW 
Atlantic & GOM DPS alone are unlikely to contribute significantly to 
its risk of extinction.
    The ERA team also noted that sharks, in general, have lower 
reproductive rates and growth rates compared to bony fishes. Estimates 
for the intrinsic rate of increase (r) for scalloped hammerhead sharks 
are relatively low, ranging from 0.028 to 0.121 (see Miller et al., 
2013), suggesting general vulnerability to depletion. But compared to 
other chondrichthyan species, scalloped hammerhead sharks actually show 
a moderate rebound potential to exploitation by pelagic longline 
fisheries common in this DPS (Cort[eacute]s et al., 2010; ICCAT, 2012).
    In addition, the ERA team did not see habitat structure or 
connectivity as a potential risk to this DPS. Already, an extensive 
range of essential fish habitat (EFH) has been identified for both 
juveniles and adults of this DPS. EFH is the habitat necessary for 
spawning, breeding, feeding, and growth to maturity for a species, and 
NMFS, the regional fishery management councils, and other Federal 
agencies work together to minimize threats to these identified EFH 
areas. The current EFH for this DPS extends from the coastal areas in 
the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to the southern west coast of Florida and 
along the Atlantic U.S. southeast coast from Florida up to Long Island, 
NY. Scalloped hammerhead sharks of all developmental stages have been 
identified within this EFH range (NMFS, 2006), along the eastern 
Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coast, which suggests that habitat 
connectivity does not appear to be a limiting factor in this DPS's 
survival. Habitat structure also does not appear to be a threat, with 
the sharks inhabiting a range of environments with varying complexity 
(from estuaries to open oceans). Because the shark resides in the water 
column, threats to changes in the physical characteristics of the water 
column, such as salinity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen, may pose 
the greatest

[[Page 20728]]

risk to this species. Estuaries and nearshore waters are especially 
susceptible to pollution from anthropogenic impacts and subsequent 
water quality degradation. However, the species is highly mobile with 
no data to suggest it is restricted to any specific estuarine or 
shallow coastal area for use as a habitat ground. In addition, the 
degree to which habitat alterations have affected this shark species is 
not currently known (NMFS, 2009). As such, the ERA team concluded, and 
we agree, that habitat structure or connectivity is not a present risk 
to this DPS.

Central & SW Atlantic DPS

    The ERA team noted that specific abundance numbers for this DPS are 
unavailable but likely similar to, and probably worse than, those found 
in the NW Atlantic & GOM DPS, mainly due to the observed intensive 
fishing pressure on this DPS. In the late 1990s, Amorim et al. (1998) 
remarked that heavy fishing by longliners led to a decrease in this 
population off the coast of Brazil. According to the FAO global capture 
production database, Brazil reported a significant increase in catch of 
S. lewini during this period, from 30 mt in 1999 to 508 mt by 2002, 
before decreasing to a low of 87 mt in 2009. Documented heavy inshore 
fishing has also led to significant declines of adult female S. lewini 
abundance (up to 90 percent) (CITES, 2010) as well as targeted fishing 
of and reported decreases in juvenile and neonate scalloped hammerhead 
populations (Vooren et al., 2005; Kotas et al., 2008). Information from 
surface longline and bottom gillnet fisheries targeting hammerhead 
sharks off southern Brazil indicates declines of more than 80 percent 
in CPUE from 2000 to 2008, with the targeted hammerhead fishery 
abandoned after 2008 due to the rarity of the species (FAO, 2010). The 
population abundance in the Caribbean is unknown as catch reporting is 
sporadic and not normally recorded down to the species level.
    However, unlike the NW Atlantic & GOM DPS, exploitation of this DPS 
continues to go largely unregulated. In Central America, a lack of 
resources has led to poor enforcement of fishery regulations as well as 
frequent incidences of illegal fishing (further discussed in the 
Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms section). In Brazilian 
waters, there are very few fishery regulations that help protect 
hammerhead populations. For example, the minimum legal size for a 
scalloped hammerhead caught in Brazilian waters is 60 cm total length; 
however, S. lewini pups may range from 38 cm to 55 cm. As the pup sizes 
are very close to this minimum limit, the legislation is essentially 
ineffective, and as such, large catches of both juveniles and neonates 
have been documented from this region (Silveira et al., 2007; Kotas et 
al., 2008; CITES, 2010). Although Brazil has implemented other measures 
aimed at protecting species that use inshore areas as nursery grounds, 
such as by limiting gillnets and closing off certain fishing areas, 
unlike the management measures in the NW Atlantic & GOM DPS, these 
regulations are poorly enforced. Because of the lack of enforced 
fishery regulations, fishers continue to take large numbers of all ages 
of scalloped hammerhead sharks from inshore and coastal waters of this 
DPS. These threats, which have contributed to the decline in abundance 
of this DPS, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future, 
are discussed in more detail below. Given the scalloped hammerhead 
shark's low intrinsic productivity, the observed downward trends in 
reported catches and population numbers, and continued threat from 
bycatch and directed catch in weakly regulated commercial and 
recreational fisheries, the ERA team concluded, and we agree, that the 
DPS' current and future levels of abundance are likely to contribute 
significantly to its risk of extinction.

Eastern Atlantic DPS

    Abundance numbers for this DPS are unavailable or unreliable, but 
population trends likely reflect those found in the NW Atlantic & GOM 
DPS based on the similar fishing effort of longline fleets in this area 
(Zeeberg et al. 2006; CITES, 2010). One study that the ERA team 
reviewed used historical records to estimate declines of > 99.99 
percent in both biomass and abundance of scalloped hammerhead sharks 
over the past 100 years in the Mediterranean Sea (Ferretti et al., 
2008). However, the ERA team voiced concerns regarding the species 
identification in the records, as many of the hammerheads found in the 
Mediterranean Sea are actually the similarly-looking smooth, not 
scalloped, hammerhead shark. Recently, Sperone et al. (2012) confirmed 
the presence of both S. lewini and S. zyganea around southern Italy, 
providing evidence that the species can still be found in the 
Mediterranean Sea.
    According to data provided to the FAO, S. lewini abundance off the 
coast of Mauritania has declined by 95 percent since 1999, with 
evidence of a decrease in average size of the shark since 2006 (FAO, 
2013). Abundance trends from off the coast of other western African 
countries are not available but likely similar to the situation off 
Mauritania (FAO, 2013). The status of other stocks from this region may 
also provide a likely picture of the scalloped hammerhead shark 
population in this region. According to the latest FAO report on the 
State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, most of the pelagic stocks 
and demersal fish from the Eastern Central Atlantic are considered 
fully exploited to overexploited (FAO, 2012). In addition, many of the 
shrimp stocks range between fully and overexploited and the 
commercially important octopus and cuttlefish stocks in this region are 
deemed overexploited. Some stocks, such as the white grouper in Senegal 
and Mauritania, are even considered to be in severe condition. Driving 
this exploitation is the increasing need for protein resources in this 
region, both as a trade commodity and as a dietary staple. In fact, 
many people in Sub-Saharan Africa depend on fish for protein in their 
diet, with fish accounting for around 22 percent of their protein 
intake (Heck and B[eacute]n[eacute], 2005). This proportion increases 
to over 50 percent in many of the poorer African countries, where other 
animal protein is scarce, and in West African coastal countries, where 
fishing has driven the economy for many centuries (Heck and 
B[eacute]n[eacute], 2005). For example, fish accounts for 47 percent of 
protein intake in Senegal, 62 percent in Gambia, and 63 percent in 
Sierra Leone and Ghana (Heck and B[eacute]n[eacute], 2005). With this 
reliance on fish stocks for dietary protein as well as a sole source of 
income for many people in this region, it is not surprising that the 
FAO reports that ``the Eastern Central Atlantic has 43 percent of its 
assessed stocks fully exploited, 53 percent overexploited and 4 percent 
non-fully exploited, a situation warranting attention for improvement 
in management.'' (FAO, 2012)
    With evidence to suggest that large artisanal fisheries are taking 
substantial amounts of juvenile scalloped hammerhead sharks from these 
waters, and reports of fisheries even specializing in catching sphyrnid 
species (CITES, 2010), it is highly likely that this DPS' status is 
similar to the status of other fish stocks in this region (i.e., fully 
to overexploited). Thus, taking into consideration the species' low 
intrinsic rate of productivity, the largely unregulated catch of the 
species off West Africa with indications of abundance declines and 
possible size truncation, threats from overexploitation and poor 
management,

[[Page 20729]]

and the rising demand for food/protein in this region (projected to 
double by 2020; World Bank, 2012), the ERA team concluded, and we 
agree, that future abundance levels of this DPS are likely to 
contribute significantly to its risk of extinction. These threats, 
which have contributed to the decline in abundance of this DPS, and 
will continue to do so into the foreseeable future, are discussed in 
more detail below.

Indo-West Pacific DPS

    Beach protection programs in the Indo-West Pacific region have 
provided valuable fishery-independent data that reveal drastic declines 
in this scalloped hammerhead shark population since the early 1950s. 
Specifically, declines of 99 percent, 86 percent, and 64 percent have 
been estimated for S. lewini from catch rates in shark nets deployed 
off the beaches of South Africa from 1952-1972, 1961-1972, and 1978-
2003, respectively (Dudley and Simpfendorfer, 2006; Ferretti et al., 
2010). Estimates of the decline in Australian hammerhead abundance 
range from 58-85 percent (Heupel and McAuley 2007; CITES, 2010). CPUE 
data from the northern Australian shark fishery indicate declines of 
58-76 percent in hammerhead abundance in Australia's northwest marine 
region from 1996-2005 (Heupel and McAuley, 2007). Data from protective 
shark meshing programs off beaches in New South Wales (NSW) and 
Queensland also suggest significant declines in hammerhead populations 
off the east coast of Australia. From 1973 to 2008, the number of 
hammerheads caught per year in NSW beach nets decreased by more than 90 
percent, from over 300 individuals to fewer than 30 (Reid and Krogh, 
1992; Williamson, 2011). Similarly, data from the Queensland shark 
control program indicate declines of around 79 percent in hammerhead 
shark abundance between the years of 1986 and 2010, with S. lewini 
abundance fluctuating over the years but showing a recent decline of 63 
percent between 2005 and 2010 (QLD DEEDI, 2011). Although these studies 
provide evidence of declining local populations, there is a high degree 
of uncertainty regarding the overall population size given the 
expansive range of this DPS.
    Additionally, the ERA team noted that the coastal habitats of this 
DPS, especially around the island nations of the western Pacific, are 
less connected than those of the other DPSs that have a contiguous 
coastline. But since the western Pacific islands are relatively close 
together or connected by various submarine features, the ERA team felt 
that these areas are easily accessible to this DPS and therefore should 
pose minimal ecological risk. Overall, the ERA team recognized that the 
total abundance for this species in the entire region is not well 
known, but the available data confirm localized depletions of 
populations. This information, coupled with the species' low intrinsic 
rate of productivity, led the ERA team to conclude that the abundance 
in the foreseeable future may decline to a level that would not provide 
the DPS adequate resilience to environmental or anthropogenic 
perturbations. We agree with the ERA team's findings.

Central Pacific DPS

    Abundance in this DPS is perceived to be high based on shark pup 
data from this region as well as personal observations from NMFS 
fishery scientists in the Pacific Islands Fishery Science Center. In 
K[amacr]ne`ohe Bay, a large nursery ground in Oahu, Hawaii, estimates 
of 7700  2240 SD scalloped hammerhead sharks are born per 
year, which suggests that between 180 and 660 adult female sharks use 
this area annually as a birthing ground (Duncan and Holland, 2006). 
Growth rate of these pups is estimated to be 9.6 cm per year (Duncan 
and Holland, 2006). Although Clarke (1971) observed high predation on 
the pups by adult scalloped hammerheads, the author noted that the pup 
population remained high and suggested that either the pup population 
is significantly larger than previously thought, or that new births are 
compensating for the mortality of the pups in this nursery ground.
    With respect to spatial structure and connectivity, this DPS has a 
high degree of isolation. However, while the population is limited in 
its connection to other coastal habitat areas, the fragmented habitats 
that are within this DPS are traversable, connected by various 
submarine features like seamounts and guyots. In addition, a number of 
suitable nursery grounds have been identified within this DPS. Thus, 
although the isolation of the DPS in the middle of the Pacific Ocean 
may pose a moderate risk to the species, the ERA team concluded, and we 
agree, that high abundance numbers and ample suitable nursery habitats 
protect the scalloped hammerhead shark population from extinction, with 
current levels of abundance unlikely to contribute significantly to 
this DPS' risk of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.

Eastern Pacific DPS

    The ERA team commented that there are few good abundance data from 
this region; however, reports of substantial legal and illegal takes of 
S. lewini, and observed declines in scalloped hammerhead abundance and 
overall shark abundance, including in protected waters, suggest 
significant reductions in abundance of this species. Scalloped 
hammerhead sharks of all age classes are caught in substantial numbers 
by fisheries operating in this region (Perez-Jimenez et al., 2005; 
Rom[aacute]n-Vedesoto and Orozco-Z[ouml]ller 2005; INP, 2006; Bizarro 
et al., 2009; Arriatti, 2011). Some artisanal fisheries primarily 
target juvenile S. lewini (Arriatti, 2011), while other fisheries, like 
the tuna purse seine fisheries, catch significant numbers of the sharks 
as bycatch (Rom[aacute]n-Vedesoto and Orozco-Z[ouml]ller, 2005). In the 
Gulf of Tehuantepac, in Pacific southeastern Mexico, it is estimated 
that the scalloped hammerhead population is currently decreasing by 6 
percent per year (INP, 2006). From 1996-2001, CPUE of all sharks in the 
Gulf of Tehuantepac declined by around 46 percent, and for S. lewini, 
CPUE declined to nearly zero in 2001 (INP, 2006). Farther south, in the 
Costa Rica EEZ, analysis of survey research and catch data from 1991-
1992 and 1999-2000 indicate a decline of 58 percent in relative pelagic 
shark abundance (Arauz et al., 2004). In Costa Rica's Pacific mahi-mahi 
targeted longline fishery, the mean CPUE (per 1,000 hooks) of S. lewini 
between 1999 and 2008 was low (0.041  0.279); however, the 
majority of the fishing effort was concentrated in pelagic waters (from 
19.5 to 596.2 km offshore) (Whoriskey et al., 2011). More troubling are 
the diver reports of S. lewini populations in the protected waters 
around Cocos Island National Park. Analysis of these reports indicate 
declines of 71 percent in this protected S. lewini population, and 
suggest substantial fishing on this population by illegal, unreported, 
and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels (Myers et al., n.d.). 
Furthermore, landings data from the Pacific Mexican coast suggest a 
possible size truncation of this S. lewini population, with larger 
animals less common in 2007-2009 landings compared to those from 1998-
1999 (Bizarro et al., 2009). The removal of larger, and hence, likely 
mature animals can decrease the productivity of the population, 
particularly for slow-growing, long-lived species such as the scalloped 
hammerhead shark. From an evolutionary standpoint, Nance et al. (2011) 
calculated that this DPS has undergone significant declines (1-3

[[Page 20730]]

orders of magnitude) from its ancestral population, with the onset of 
decline occurring approximately 3600 to 12,000 years ago. Thus, given 
the observed decreases in population and possible size truncation, low 
intrinsic productivity of the species, and evidence of significant 
legal and illegal fishing of this DPS, suggesting a need for better 
fisheries management or enforcement, the ERA team concluded, and we 
agree, that the current abundance may be at a level that contributes 
significantly to the DPS' risk of extinction now and in the foreseeable 
future. These threats (significant legal and illegal fishing), which 
have contributed to the decline in abundance of this DPS, and will 
continue to do so into the foreseeable future, are discussed in more 
detail below.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Six DPSs of Scalloped Hammerhead 
Sharks

    As described above, section 4(a)(1) of the ESA and NMFS 
implementing regulations (50 CFR 424) state that we must determine 
whether a species is endangered or threatened because of any one or a 
combination of the following factors: (1) The present or threatened 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (2) 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes; (3) disease or predation; (4) inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms; or (5) other natural or man-made 
factors affecting its continued existence. The ERA team evaluated 
whether and the extent to which each of the foregoing factors 
contributed to the overall extinction risk of the six DPSs. The status 
report identifies the most serious individual threat(s) to a DPS' 
persistence. It also identifies those threats that, in combination with 
others, were thought to contribute significantly to the risk of a DPS' 
extinction. This section briefly summarizes the ERA team's findings and 
our conclusions regarding threats to scalloped hammerhead sharks with 
occasional focus on threats specific to individual DPSs. More details 
can be found in the status review report (Miller et al., 2013).

The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of 
Its Habitat or Range

    The ERA team identified habitat destruction as a potential threat 
to the scalloped hammerhead shark, but did not find evidence to suggest 
that it is presently contributing significantly to any of the DPS's 
risks of extinction. Currently, scalloped hammerhead sharks are found 
worldwide, residing in coastal warm temperate and tropical seas and 
rarely in waters cooler than 22 [deg]C (Compagno, 1984; Schulze-Haugen 
and Kohler, 2003). They occur over continental and insular shelves and 
adjacent deep waters, but can also be found in intertidal and surface 
waters and depths of up to 450 to 512 m (Sanches, 1991; Klimley, 1993). 
Estuaries and coastal embayments have been identified as particularly 
important nursery areas for scalloped hammerhead sharks range wide, 
while offshore waters contain important spawning and feeding areas. The 
vertical habitat of scalloped hammerheads in the Gulf of California may 
extend even farther to include areas of cold hypoxic waters (Jorgensen 
et al., 2009), indicating an ability to tolerate large fluctuations in 
temperature and dissolved oxygen concentrations.
    In the U.S. EEZ, the MSA requires NMFS to identify and describe EFH 
in FMPs, minimize the adverse effects of fishing on EFH, and identify 
actions to encourage the conservation and enhancement of EFH. Towards 
that end, NMFS has funded two cooperative survey programs intended to 
help delineate shark nursery habitats in the Atlantic and Gulf of 
Mexico. The Cooperative Atlantic States Shark Pupping and Nursery 
Survey and the Cooperative Gulf of Mexico States Shark Pupping and 
Nursery Survey are designed to assess the geographical and seasonal 
extent of shark nursery habitat, determine which shark species use 
these areas, and gauge the relative importance of these coastal 
habitats for use in EFH determinations. Results from the surveys 
indicate the importance of estuarine, nearshore, and coastal waters of 
South Carolina, Georgia, Atlantic Florida, Florida Panhandle, and 
Alabama as potential nursery habitats for scalloped hammerhead sharks 
along the eastern U.S. Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Since the scalloped 
hammerhead EFH is defined as the water column or attributes of the 
water column, NMFS determined that there are minimal or no cumulative 
anticipated impacts to the EFH from gear used in HMS and non-HMS 
fisheries, basing its finding on an examination of published literature 
and anecdotal evidence (NMFS, 2006).
    Likewise, scalloped hammerhead shark habitat in the other DPSs is 
similar to what is found in the NW Atlantic & GOM DPS, characterized 
primarily by the water column attributes. For example, Zeeberg et al. 
(2006) noted an increase in abundance of hammerhead bycatch in pelagic 
trawlers operating in the Mauritania EEZ during the summer months, 
which suggested frequent use of these waters as habitat areas by 
scalloped hammerheads. However, bycatch probability decreased 
significantly during the winter and spring, as trade wind-induced 
upwellings caused sea surface temperatures to drop from summer maximums 
of 30 [deg]C to 18 [deg]C, indicating sea surface temperature as a 
significant habitat determinant. Likewise, Bessudo et al. (2011) found 
that the depth at which scalloped hammerhead sharks commonly swam 
around Malpelo Island in the Eastern Pacific coincided with the 
thermocline, the temperature-based transition layer between the mixed 
layer at the surface and the deep water layer. The authors also 
suggested that scalloped hammerhead seasonal movements to and from the 
island of Malpelo are linked to oceanographic conditions, with seasonal 
environmental signals triggering the migratory movements (Bessudo et 
al., 2011).
    To date, no studies have looked at habitat alteration effects on 
scalloped hammerhead shark populations. However, any modifications 
would most likely affect S. lewini nursery habitats as these waters are 
usually shallower, located closer inshore, and thus are more 
susceptible to anthropogenic inputs than the offshore habitats. 
Examples of identified scalloped hammerhead pupping grounds include the 
T[aacute]rcoles River in the Gulf of Nicoya, Guam's Apra Harbor, 
K[amacr]ne`ohe Bay in Oahu, Hawaii, and coastal waters off Oaxaca, 
Mexico and the Republic of Transkei. These waters are or may be used by 
humans for a variety of purposes that often result in degradation of 
these and adjacent habitats, posing threats, either directly or 
indirectly, to the biota they support (NMFS, 2006). These effects, 
either alone or in combination with effects from other activities 
within the ecosystem, may contribute to the decline of the species or 
degradation of the habitat. The ERA team specifically noted that the 
increased industrialization seen within the scalloped hammerhead shark 
range could result in loss of coastal and nearshore habitats and higher 
pollutants in waters used by the scalloped hammerhead shark. For 
example, in Costa Rica, the increased industrialization and subsequent 
waste from commercial, industrial, and transportation activities, as 
well as coffee production and cattle farming, has led to the 
accumulation of heavy metals near the mouth of a river frequently used 
as a scalloped hammerhead shark nursery ground (Zanella et al., 2009). 
High

[[Page 20731]]

concentrations of heavy metals damage the epithelial gill cells of 
sharks and cause respiratory system failure (de Boeck et al., 2002); 
however, such effects to S. lewini have not yet been reported in this 
area or elsewhere in the species' range. Although severe pollution and 
the degradation of water quality may be serious threats to S. lewini 
nursery and juvenile habitats range wide, the ERA team also noted that 
this species usually prefers more turbid and murkier waters. Data from 
K[amacr]ne`ohe Bay in Hawaii show that juvenile scalloped hammerheads 
prefer to aggregate in deeper water during the day, where the habitat 
is composed mainly of mud and silt (Duncan and Holland, 2006). Areas of 
higher hammerhead shark abundance also corresponded to locations of 
greater turbidity and higher sedimentation and nutrient flow (Duncan 
and Holland, 2006). This was also true of scalloped hammerheads in the 
Eastern Pacific, with large adult schools gathering on the sides of 
islands where the current was strongest, and juvenile scalloped 
hammerheads frequenting shallow, turbid waters at the mouth of rivers 
(Garro et al., 2009; Zanella et al., 2009). As such, characteristics 
usually associated with coastal habitat degradation (such as runoff, 
siltation, eutrophication, etc.) could actually enhance some of the 
habitat for this species to a degree, creating more sediment and 
nutrient rich waters.
    Because the scalloped hammerhead range is mainly comprised of open 
ocean environments occurring over broad geographic ranges, large-scale 
impacts such as global climate change that affect ocean temperatures, 
currents, and potentially food chain dynamics, are most likely to pose 
the greatest threat to this species. Additionally, the scalloped 
hammerhead shark is highly mobile within the range of its DPS, and 
there is no evidence to suggest its access to essential habitat is 
restricted within any of the DPSs. It also does not participate in 
natal homing, which would essentially restrict the species to a 
specific nursery ground, but rather has been found utilizing 
artificially enlarged estuaries as nursery habitats located 100 to 600 
km from established nursery grounds (Duncan et al., 2006). Also, based 
on a comparison of S. lewini distribution maps from 1984 (Compagno, 
1984) and 2012 (Bester, n.d.), and current reports of scalloped 
hammerhead catches in FAO fishing areas, there is no evidence to 
suggest a range contraction for any DPS based on habitat degradation. 
Overall, using the best available information, there is no evidence to 
suggest there exists a present or threatened destruction, modification, 
or curtailment of the scalloped hammerhead shark's habitat or range and 
we conclude that it is unlikely that this factor is contributing on its 
own or in combination with other factors to the extinction risk of any 
of the six DPSs evaluated.

Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific or Educational 
Purposes

    The ERA team identified overutilization for commercial and/or 
recreational purposes as a moderate to major threat contributing to 
extinction risk for all six scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs. Scalloped 
hammerhead sharks are targeted by industrial, commercial, artisanal and 
recreational fisheries, and caught as bycatch in many other fisheries, 
including pelagic longline tuna and swordfish fisheries and purse seine 
fisheries. Unfortunately, significant catches of scalloped hammerheads 
have and continue to go unrecorded in many countries. In addition, 
scalloped hammerheads are likely under-reported in catch records, as 
many records do not account for discards (example: Where the fins are 
kept but the carcass is discarded) or reflect dressed weights instead 
of live weights. Also, many catch records do not differentiate between 
the hammerhead species, or shark species in general, and thus species-
specific population trends for scalloped hammerheads are not readily 
available. Thus, the lack of catch data on scalloped hammerhead sharks 
makes it impossible to estimate rates of fishing mortality for many of 
the DPSs, or conduct detailed quantitative analyses of the effects of 
fishing on the scalloped hammerhead populations. Nonetheless, there is 
little doubt that overfishing has played a major role in the decline of 
scalloped hammerhead sharks, and many other shark species for that 
matter, around the world (Lack and Sant, 2011).
    Estimates of worldwide catches of sphyrnids are reported in the FAO 
Global Capture Production dataset mainly at the family level, but a 
select number of countries have reported down to the species level. 
Total catches of the hammerhead family have increased since the early 
1990s (prior years were not reported), from 377 mt in 1991 to a current 
peak of 5,786 mt in 2010. This rise is in contrast to the catches of S. 
lewini, which have decreased, for the most part, since reaching a 
maximum of 798 mt in 2002, suggesting a possible decline in population 
abundance. However, only seven countries have reported S. lewini data 
in this FAO database, which is by no means an accurate representation 
of worldwide S. lewini landings data. Additionally, these FAO data do 
not include discard mortalities. In order to gain a better estimate of 
the global shark catch, the ERA team reviewed a study by Clarke et al. 
(2006a, 2006b), which analyzed 1999-2001 Hong Kong fin trade auction 
data in conjunction with species-specific fin weights and genetic 
information. Scalloped hammerhead sharks are popular in the 
international fin trade due to their large fins with a high fin needle 
content (a gelatinous product used to make shark fin soup), and 
subsequently fetch a high commercial price (Abercrombie et al., 2005). 
These fins are found under the second most traded fin category in the 
Hong Kong market. Applying a Bayesian statistical method to the trade 
auction data, it was estimated that between 1 and 3 million smooth and 
scalloped hammerhead sharks, with an equivalent biomass of 60-70 
thousand mt, are traded annually (Clarke et al., 2006b). These 
estimates are significantly higher than the catches reported to FAO, 
and suggest that FAO catch data should only be used as coarse 
estimates. To put these numbers into perspective, Hayes et al. (2009) 
estimated the virgin, or unfished, population size (in 1981) of the 
Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico scalloped hammerhead stock to be 
in the range of 142,000--169,000 individuals.
    Given the high exploitation rates and vulnerability of the 
scalloped hammerhead shark to overfishing, the ERA team identified 
overutilization, especially for the international fin trade, as the 
most severe threat to the global scalloped hammerhead shark population. 
With respect to each DPS, the severity of this threat to its risk of 
extinction is briefly explained below.

NW Atlantic & GOM DPS

    The ERA team identified the threat of overutilization by commercial 
and recreational fisheries as a moderate risk to the extinction of the 
NW Atlantic & GOM DPS of scalloped hammerhead sharks, but projected the 
threat to decrease in the foreseeable future. In the Atlantic U.S., 
scalloped hammerhead sharks are considered a highly migratory species 
(HMS), with this DPS managed as part of the U.S. Atlantic HMS 
fisheries. These scalloped hammerhead sharks are mainly caught by 
directed shark permit holders using bottom longline gear. To a lesser 
degree they are caught as bycatch in longline and coastal gillnet 
fisheries. In the recreational fisheries sector, scalloped

[[Page 20732]]

hammerheads became a popular target species of fishers in the last 
several decades following the release of the movie ``Jaws'' (Hayes et 
al., 2009). Data from multiple sources indicate that the NW Atlantic & 
GOM DPS has experienced severe declines over the past few decades. It 
is likely that these scalloped hammerhead sharks were overfished 
beginning in the early 1980s and experienced periodic overfishing from 
1983 to 2005 (Jiao et al., 2011).
    In October 2009, Hayes et al. (2009) produced a stock assessment 
for the U.S. Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico population of 
scalloped hammerhead sharks, which NMFS reviewed and deemed appropriate 
for the basis of U.S. management decisions. The stock assessment 
incorporated both recreational and commercial catch information as well 
as discard estimates since 1981, and developed abundance indices from 
fishery-dependent and -independent surveys. From 1981-1990, a total of 
181,544 scalloped hammerhead sharks from the NW Atlantic & GOM DPS were 
estimated as caught, primarily by recreational fishers. In fact, the 
recreational fishery sector accounted for over 90 percent of this 
harvest. However, as the demand for shark products grew (including 
meat, cartilage, and the highly prized fins), so did the commercial 
shark fishery in the Atlantic, which saw expansion throughout the late 
1970s and the 1980s (NMFS, 2006). Specifically, tuna and swordfish 
vessels started to retain a greater proportion of their shark 
incidental catch, and some directed fishery effort expanded as well. 
Subsequently, catches accelerated through the 1980s and shark stocks, 
especially the scalloped hammerhead shark, began to show signs of 
decline (NMFS, 2006). After 1993, the estimated harvest of scalloped 
hammerhead sharks decreased dramatically from 22,330 to 4,554 
individuals; however, it should be noted that it was at this time when 
NMFS implemented an FMP for Sharks of the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the 
concern over the possibility of the Atlantic shark resource being 
overfished, the 1993 Shark FMP established quotas, monitoring measures, 
and a rebuilding plan for the large coastal shark fishery (NMFS, 1993). 
In the following years, NMFS continued to revise these quotas based on 
the latest stock assessment data, and developed stronger management 
measures for the fishery, which likely explains the decrease in catch 
of scalloped hammerhead sharks. Since 1993, the harvest of scalloped 
hammerhead sharks has remained below 7,800 individuals, with the 
average annual harvest of this DPS from 1995-2005 only about a quarter 
of the pre-1990 levels (Hayes et al., 2009).
    Using two forms of a surplus-production model, a logistic 
(Schaefer, 1954) and Fox (1970) model, Hayes et al. (2009) calculated 
annual fishing mortality (F), maximum sustainable yield (MSY), and the 
size (N) of both the unfished and fished scalloped hammerhead shark 
population in the U.S. Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Both 
models showed that overfishing is likely occurring (F > 
FMSY) with a greater than 95 percent probability that the 
population is overfished (N < NMSY). The logistic model 
estimated a population size in 2005 to be 35 percent (CI = 19-87 
percent) of the population at MSY, with an estimated F of 114 percent 
(CI = 43-397 percent) of FMSY, whereas the Fox model 
estimated the population size to be 45 percent (CI = 18-89 percent) of 
NMSY and F to be 129 percent (CI = 54-341 percent) of 
FMSY. Both models estimated a depletion of around 83 percent 
from the virgin population size (in 1981). However, under a constant 
catch at the 2005 harvest level, the probability that the stock of 
scalloped hammerheads will rebuild within 30 years was estimated to be 
91 percent (with rebuilding defined as reaching a population size 
greater than NMSY).
    Since 2005, the catches of this DPS have remained fairly low in all 
U.S. fishery sectors. In the Atlantic HMS fishery, an average of 25 
vessels landed 181 hammerhead sharks per year from 2005 to 2009 on 
pelagic longline gear (based on logbook data). In bottom longline (BLL) 
hauls, observed catches of scalloped hammerhead sharks have varied by 
year. In 2007, 39 individuals were observed in the BLL catch. This 
number increased to 539 individuals in 2009, and then dropped 1 year 
later to 328, with S. lewini comprising <= 2.8 percent of the total 
number of sharks caught in the BLL hauls. However, comparisons of these 
catches should be made with caution, as the number of participating 
vessels, hauls, and trips vary greatly by year. In the gillnet fishery, 
the scalloped hammerhead shark is no longer a frequently caught bycatch 
species. In 2010, 4 drift gillnet vessels were observed making 14 sets 
on 8 trips. Out of the total 2,728 sharks caught during these trips, 
scalloped hammerhead sharks comprised only 1.2 percent (n = 33). In the 
sink gillnet fishery, 17 vessels were observed making 281 sets on 53 
trips in 2010. A total of 3,131 sharks were caught, with scalloped 
hammerhead sharks comprising only 0.6 percent of this total (n = 19) 
(Passerotti et al., 2011). Recreational harvest of scalloped hammerhead 
sharks has also seen a decrease from the 1980s and early 1990 numbers, 
likely due to the establishment of bag limits beginning in 1993, and 
regulations limiting this fishery to only rod and reel and handline 
gear in 2003.
    The ERA team ranked the threat of overutilization as a moderate 
risk, one that would contribute significantly to risk of extinction 
only in combination with other factors, such as low and decreasing 
abundance or inadequate regulatory mechanisms. However, given the 
increase in management of the fishery since the early 1990s, the 
subsequent infrequent occurrence of the species in fishing gear, the 
stable abundance numbers, and the fact that both the U.S. commercial 
and recreational harvest of this DPS have been below the recommended 
rebuilding catch levels since 2005 (which will allow abundance levels 
to increase in the foreseeable future), the ERA team concluded, and we 
agree, that the available data suggest that the current threat of 
overutilization by commercial and recreational fisheries has been 
greatly reduced, minimized by the effectiveness of the existing fishery 
management measures, and by itself will not contribute significantly to 
this DPS' risk of extinction in the foreseeable future.

Central & SW Atlantic DPS

    The ERA team identified the threat of overutilization by 
industrial/commercial fisheries as a high risk and overutilization by 
artisanal fisheries as a moderate risk to the extinction of the Central 
& SW Atlantic DPS, with the threat projected to increase in the 
foreseeable future. Brazil, the country that reports one of the highest 
scalloped hammerhead landings in South America, maintains heavy 
industrial fishing of this species off its coastal waters. In the ports 
of Rio Grande and Itajai, annual landings of hammerhead sharks have 
fluctuated over the years, but have reached significantly high numbers. 
For example, in 1992, reported landings were approximately 30 mt but 
increased rapidly to 700 mt in 1994. From 1995 to 2002, catches 
decreased but fluctuated between 100-300 mt (Baum et al., 2007). FAO 
global capture production statistics from Brazil show a significant 
increase in catch of S. lewini, from 30 mt in 1999 to 262 mt in 2000. 
In 2001 and 2002, catches almost doubled to 507 mt and 508 mt, 
respectively, before decreasing to 87 mt in 2009.

[[Page 20733]]

    High numbers of hammerhead sharks have also been removed by 
longliners fishing off the coast of South America. Data from a tuna 
fishery based in Santos City, S[atilde]o Paulo State, Brazil, revealed 
that although longliners mainly target tuna, sharks have become popular 
as incidental take (Amroim et al., 1998). In fact, from 1983-1994 
Santos longliners began targeting sharks at least part of the time 
during their trips, and by 1993, sharks comprised approximately 60 
percent of the total longline catch. The total hammerhead yield 
(includes S. lewini and S. zyganea) increased slightly from 1972 (7 mt) 
to 1988 (79 mt), and then more significantly to a maximum of 290 mt in 
1990 (as did the number of longliners catching sharks). During the 
study period (from 1974-1997), S. lewini catch was reported throughout 
the year and represented approximately 60 percent of the total 
hammerhead yield. After 1990, hammerhead yield exhibited a decreasing 
trend (to 59 mt in 1996), but this may have been a result of a change 
in gear from traditional Japanese longline to monofilament longline 
(Amorim et al., 1998). However, despite this change in gear, a follow-
up study conducted from 2007-2008 found that S[atilde]o Paulo State 
longliners were still targeting sharks, and that the catch was 
dominated by shark species (catch composition: Sharks = 49.2 percent, 
swordfish = 35.5 percent, billfish, tuna, other = 15.3 percent) (Amorim 
et al., 2011). By weight, hammerheads represented only 6.3 percent of 
the total shark catch, or 37.7 mt, a decrease from the previously 
reported yield in 1996. Of the 376 hammerhead sharks caught, 131 (or 35 
percent) were S. lewini (Amorim et al., 2011).
    S. lewini is also commonly landed by artisanal fishers in the 
Central and Southwest Atlantic, with concentrated fishing effort in 
nearshore and inshore waters, areas likely to be used as nursery 
grounds. In the Caribbean, specific catch and landings data are 
unavailable; however, S. lewini is often a target of artisanal 
fisheries off Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, and anecdotal reports of 
declines in abundance, size, and distribution shifts of sharks suggest 
significant fishing pressure on overall shark populations in this 
region (Kyne et al., 2012). Additionally, Chapman et al. (2009) 
recently linked S. lewini fins from Hong Kong fin traders to the 
Central American Caribbean region, suggesting the lucrative fin trade 
may partially be driving the artisanal and commercial fishing of this 
DPS. Farther south, in Brazil, artisanal fisheries make up about 50 
percent of the fishing sector, with many fishers focusing their efforts 
inshore on schools of hammerheads. Between 1993 and 2001, adult female 
S. lewini abundance in Brazil decreased by 60-90 percent due to this 
inshore fishing pressure (CITES, 2010). In 2004, Brazil recognized this 
threat of S. lewini overutilization in its waters and subsequently 
added the species to its list of over-exploited species (Normative 
Instruction MMA n[deg] 05); however, this listing does not carry with 
it any prohibitions on fishing for the species. Thus, given the 
available data on catch trends, yields, fishing effort, and fin trade 
incentives, the ERA team concluded, and we agree, that the threat of 
overutilization alone is likely to contribute significantly to risk of 
extinction for the Central & SW Atlantic DPS.

Eastern Atlantic DPS

    The ERA team identified the threat of overutilization by 
industrial/commercial fisheries as a high risk to the extinction of the 
Eastern Atlantic DPS, with the threat projected to increase in the 
foreseeable future. Although species-specific data are unavailable from 
this region, hammerheads are a large component of the bycatch in the 
European pelagic freezer-trawler fishery that operates off Mauritania. 
Between 2001 and 2005, 42 percent of the retained pelagic megafauna 
bycatch from over 1,400 freezer-trawl sets consisted of hammerhead 
species (S. lewini, S. zygaena, and S. mokarran) (Zeeberg et al., 
2006). Of concern, especially as it relates to abundance and 
recruitment to the population, is the fact that around 75 percent of 
the hammerhead catch were juveniles of 0.50-1.40 m in length (Zeeberg 
et al., 2006).
    In 2009, the European Union (EU) ranked second in the world for 
landings of sharks, rays, and chimaeras (according to FAO catch 
statistics), with landings estimated at 112,329 mt. The total amount of 
hammerhead sharks landed was 227 mt, with Spanish vessels responsible 
for 78 percent of the catch (178 mt), followed by Portugal (37 mt) 
(Shark Alliance, 2012). Although these vessels fish all over the world, 
they likely concentrate efforts in the Atlantic. In 2005, 85 percent of 
the overall reported Spanish shark catches were from the Atlantic Ocean 
(Shark Alliance, 2007), suggesting the Eastern Atlantic DPS of 
scalloped hammerhead sharks may be at risk from overutilization by 
these top EU shark fishing nations.
    The threat of overutilization by artisanal fisheries was identified 
as a moderate risk to the extinction of the scalloped hammerhead shark, 
but is projected to increase under the weakly regulated and enforced 
fisheries of West Africa to match the increasing demand for food/
protein in this region. In fact, estimates of per capita fish 
consumption is expected to increase from 2011-2021 in all continents 
except for Africa, where the population is growing faster than the 
supply (FAO, 2012). In the Sub Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) 
member countries (Cape-Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, 
Mauritania, Senegal, and Sierra Leone), the population is predicted to 
increase from 35 million (in 2007) to around 76 million by 2050 (Diop 
and Dossa, 2011). The fact that around 78.4 percent of the population 
currently lives within 100 km of the coast means that there will likely 
be higher demand and fishing pressure on marine resources as the 
population continues to grow (Diop and Dossa, 2011). Already, around 96 
percent of the fish stocks in the Eastern Central Atlantic are 
considered fully to overexploited (FAO, 2012). Because many of these 
West African countries depend on fish for dietary protein but also, as 
it relates to scalloped hammerhead sharks, as a source of income, the 
threat of overutilization is not likely to decrease.
    According to FAO (2012), Africa is the continent with the highest 
proportion of its fleet operating in inland waters (42 percent), 
suggesting juveniles and neonates of this DPS may be in the most 
danger. And, in fact, large artisanal fisheries in Mauritania have been 
documented fishing great quantities of juvenile scalloped hammerhead 
sharks using driftnets and fixed gillnets (CITES, 2010), with S. lewini 
also caught in large numbers in the sciaenid fishery operating in this 
region. In 2010, the first year that it provided capture production 
statistics to FAO, Mauritania reported a total catch of 257 mt of S. 
lewini, the highest amount reported by any one country since 2003.
    According to Diop and Dossa (2011), shark fishing has occurred in 
the SRFC member countries for around 30 years. Shark fisheries and 
trade in this region first originated in Gambia, but soon spread 
throughout the region in the 1980s and 1990s, as the development and 
demand from the worldwide fin market increased. From 1994 to 2005, 
shark catch reached maximum levels, with a continued increase in the 
number of boats, better fishing gear, and more people entering the 
fishery, especially in the artisanal fishing sector. Before 1989, 
artisanal catch was less than 4,000 mt (Diop and Dossa, 2011). However,

[[Page 20734]]

from 1990 to 2005, catch increased dramatically from 5,000 mt to over 
26,000 mt, as did the level of fishing effort (Diop and Dossa, 2011). 
Including estimates of bycatch from the industrial fishing fleet brings 
this number over 30,000 mt in 2005 (however, discards of shark 
carcasses at sea were not included in bycatch estimates, suggesting 
bycatch may be underestimated) (Diop and Dossa, 2011). In the SRFC 
region, an industry focused on the fishing activities, processing, and 
sale of shark products became well established. However, since 2005, 
there has been a significant and ongoing decrease in shark landings, 
with an observed extirpation of some species, and a scarcity of others, 
such as large hammerhead sharks (Diop and Dossa, 2011), indicating 
overutilization of the resource. From 2005 to 2008, shark landings 
dropped by more than 50 percent (Diop and Dossa, 2011). In 2010, the 
number of artisanal fishing vessels that landed elasmobranches in the 
SRFC zone was estimated to be around 2,500 vessels, with 1,300 of those 
specializing in catching sharks (Diop and Dossa, 2011).
    Although species-specific data from this region are relatively 
poor, due to the lack of detailed catch reporting in many of the 
developing African countries, the ERA team concluded, and we agree, 
that the available commercial information, observations on fishing 
activities, and catch trends suggest that the threat of overutilization 
alone is likely to contribute significantly to risk of extinction for 
the Eastern Atlantic DPS.

Indo-West Pacific DPS

    The ERA team identified the threat of overutilization by 
industrial/commercial and artisanal fisheries as a high risk to the 
extinction of the Indo-West Pacific DPS, with the threat projected to 
increase in the foreseeable future. High levels of commercial fishing 
that target sharks or catch them as bycatch occur in this DPS. 
Unfortunately, few studies on the specific abundance of S. lewini have 
been conducted in this DPS, making it difficult to determine the rate 
of exploitation of this species. One study, off the coast of Oman, 
found S. lewini to be among the most commonly encountered species in 
commercial landings from 2002 to 2003 (Henderson et al., 2007). 
However, in 2003, S. lewini experienced a notable decline in relative 
abundance and, along with other large pelagic sharks, was displaced by 
smaller elasmobranch species (a trend also reported by informal 
interviews with fisherman) (Henderson et al., 2007). Off East Lombok, 
in Indonesia, data provided to the FAO also suggest potential declines 
in the population as the proportion of scalloped hammerheads in the 
Tanjung Luar artisanal shark longline fishery catch decreased from 15 
percent to 2 percent over the period of 2001 to 2011 (FAO, 2013). 
Additionally, CPUE data from South Africa and Australia shark control 
programs indicate significant declines (over 90 percent) of local 
scalloped hammerhead populations in this DPS, most likely a result from 
overharvesting, although it should be noted that these shark control 
programs were also assessed to have at least a medium causative impact 
on these localized depletions.
    In other waters of this DPS, such as off the coasts of Maldives, 
Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, and the United Republic of Tanzania, 
shark populations are presumed to be fully to over-exploited (de Young, 
2006). Likely contributing to the overexploitation of shark populations 
is the vast number of tuna fisheries prevalent within the range of this 
DPS, which are known to take substantial amounts of sharks as bycatch. 
In the Republic of the Marshall Islands EEZ, the tuna fishery alone 
accounted for annual longline catches ranging from 1,583 to 2,274 mt of 
sharks (over the period of 2005-2009) (Bromhead et al., 2012). The tuna 
purse seine fleet is also very active in this region and contributes to 
the incidental catch of scalloped hammerhead sharks. The recent 
addition of fleets entering the Western and Central Pacific Fishery 
Commission (WCPFC) tropical fishery have brought the number of purse 
seine vessels up to 280, the highest it has been since 1972 (Williams 
and Terawasi, 2011). This is especially troubling given the species' 
susceptibility to being caught in large numbers in purse seine nets 
(Rom[aacute]n-Verdesoto and Orozco-Z[ouml]ller, 2005), although recent 
WCPFC observer data suggest otherwise (SPC, 2010). In fact, the WCPFC 
observer data, collected from 1994-2009, indicate that longline sets 
may pose more of a threat to non-target shark species than purse-seine 
sets in this convention area, but in terms of hammerhead sharks, 
observers reported only negligible catch but with high rates of finning 
in both types of sets (SPC, 2010). However, some fisheries operating in 
the WCPFC Convention Area have not been observed, such as the Chinese 
Taipei small scale tuna longline fleet, which reported a significant 
catch of 365 mt (preliminary estimate) of scalloped hammerhead sharks 
in the Convention Area in 2010 (Shark Year Magazine, 2011), and 
suggests reliance on observer data alone may not be a good indicator of 
scalloped hammerhead catch in this region.
    Currently, the exact extent of fishing on this DPS by WCPFC vessels 
is unknown, as the WCPFC has only just recently designated hammerheads 
as key shark species for data collection (WCPFC, 2011) and many 
Cooperating Commission Member (CMM) and Cooperating Non-Member fleets 
have yet to provide this catch data, including fleets from among the 
top 20 countries reporting Pacific shark catches to the FAO. As of 
2012, the CMMs that reported specific catches of hammerheads from 2011 
in the WCPFC convention area included Australia, Papua New Guinea, 
Fiji, Chinese Taipei, and the European Union. The European Union 
reported only negligible catch of hammerheads, with Fiji and Australia 
reporting zero catches of scalloped hammerhead sharks. Papua New 
Guinea, which currently has an active shark longline fishery that is 
managed separately from its tuna longline fishery, reported catch from 
its domestic shark fishery to the WCPFC. This shark fishery operates 
entirely within Papua New Guinea's national waters, and is limited to 9 
vessels, setting 1,200 hooks per day with a total allowable catch of 
2,000 mt dressed weight per year (Usu et al., 2012). This fishery has 
seen substantial expansion since 2000, when there was only one active 
vessel with a reported catch of 143 sharks. However, in the last 4 
years, an average of 7 vessels has actively fished for sharks, with an 
average catch of 56,528 sharks (Usu et al., 2012). In 2011, there were 
9 active shark longline vessels, reporting the highest overall effort 
yet (27,934 hundred hooks), and subsequently reporting the highest 
catches of sharks to date (1,479.66 mt) (Usu et al., 2012). Hammerhead 
shark species comprised only 1.5 percent of the catch (22.34 mt), which 
was a decrease of 43 percent from the previous year and suggests that 
the intensive and targeted shark fishing effort may be contributing to 
the hammerhead population decline in these waters.
    Many fisheries in this region are also driven primarily by the 
lucrative trade in shark fins. For example, in northern Madagascar, 
Robinson and Sauer (2011) documented an artisanal fishery that targets 
sharks primarily for their fins and discards the carcasses. Two shark 
families comprised the majority of the artisanal landings: 
Carcharhinidae accounted for 69 percent of the species and Sphyrnidae 
accounted for 24 percent (Robinson and Sauer, 2011). S. lewini was the 
most common species in

[[Page 20735]]

the Sphyrnidae landings. In addition, many of these fishers operated in 
water shallower than 100 m and, consequently, over 96 percent of their 
scalloped hammerhead catch was comprised of immature individuals 
(Robinson and Sauer, 2011). Similarly, the shark fisheries operating in 
Antongil Bay in northeastern Madagascar commonly land only fins, rather 
than whole sharks, with the scalloped hammerhead shark as the most 
represented species in the shark fishery (Doukakis et al., 2011). Both 
adults, including pregnant females, and juveniles are harvested in the 
small and large-mesh artisanal gillnet and traditional beach seine 
fisheries, suggesting largely unregulated and targeted fishing of 
scalloped hammerhead sharks in a potential breeding ground (Doukakis et 
al., 2011).
    Furthermore, four of the top five exporters of shark fins to Hong 
Kong (Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates) are 
located in this DPS' range. In 2008, these countries accounted for 
around 34 percent (or 3,384 mt) of the total exports of shark fins 
(both frozen and dried). Therefore, with the increased number of tuna 
fleets, evidence of declines in shark catch and populations in this DPS 
range, as well as the popularity of the scalloped hammerhead shark in 
the fin trade, the ERA team agreed that the threat of overutilization 
alone is likely to contribute significantly to the risk of extinction 
of the Indo-West Pacific DPS.

Central Pacific DPS

    The ERA team identified the threat of overutilization by 
industrial/commercial fisheries as a moderate risk to the extinction of 
the Central Pacific DPS, with the threat projected to remain the same 
in the foreseeable future. Currently, scalloped hammerheads in this 
region are mainly caught as bycatch by pelagic longline and purse seine 
fleets. The Hawaii-based pelagic longline fishery has been in operation 
since approximately 1917, and underwent considerable expansion in the 
late 1980s to become the largest fishery in the state (Boggs and Ito, 
1993). This fishery currently targets tunas and billfish and catches 
are frequently documented by mandatory observers (100 percent coverage 
for shallow-set sector and 25 percent for deep-set sector). From 1995-
2006, the observer data indicated a very low catch of scalloped 
hammerhead sharks (56 individuals on 26,507 sets total, both fishery 
sectors combined). More recent observer data (2009-2011) from this 
fishery confirm that scalloped hammerhead sharks continue to be a very 
rare catch, commensurate with the earlier time period (Walsh et al., 
2009; Walsh personal communication, 2012). In non-longline catch, 
hammerhead shark species are also rare, with a total of 11 sharks 
caught from 1990-1994 and 1995-1999, 6 caught from 2000-2004, 17 caught 
from 2005-2009, and 6 caught from 2010-2011 (Seki and Kokubun personal 
communication, 2012). Although the ERA team identified overutilization 
by commercial fisheries as a threat, it ranked it as a moderate risk, 
one that would contribute significantly to risk of extinction only in 
combination with other factors, such as low and decreasing abundance or 
inadequate regulatory mechanisms. We do not believe that the observed 
low catch of this DPS is due to low population numbers since, as 
previously mentioned, abundance is high in this area due in part to the 
DPS' productive nursery grounds. Therefore, the low catch of S. lewini 
is likely due to the strict management and regulation of these 
commercial fisheries within this DPS range (see The Inadequacy of 
Existing Regulatory Mechanisms section below). As such, we conclude 
that the available data suggest that the threat of overutilization by 
commercial fisheries is ameliorated by high population abundance and 
effective existing management measures. We also agree with the ERA 
team's finding that the adequacy of regulatory mechanisms in minimizing 
the extinction risk of this DPS will only increase in the next 50 
years, making it unlikely that the threat of overutilization will be a 
greater risk to the DPS' continued existence in the foreseeable future.

Eastern Pacific DPS

    The ERA team identified the threat of overutilization by 
industrial/commercial fisheries and artisanal fisheries as a high risk 
to the extinction of the Eastern Pacific DPS, with the threat projected 
to increase in the foreseeable future. Although abundance data are 
lacking in this area, information from commercial and artisanal 
fisheries suggests heavy exploitation of this DPS. As an example, in 
central Mexico, the shark fishery, which began in the early 1940s, grew 
from catches of less than 5,000 mt in the early 1960s to catches of 
25,000 mt in the late 1970s, and reached maximum exploitation in the 
1980s and 1990s (P[eacute]rez-Jim[eacute]nez et al., 2005). During this 
time, scalloped hammerheads were an important small shark species that 
was routinely caught on the southern coast of Sinaloa (P[eacute]rez-
Jim[eacute]nez et al., 2005; Bizzarro et al., 2009). From 1998-1999, 
scalloped hammerhead sharks comprised 54.4 percent of the elasmobranch 
catch and 43.1 percent of the total recorded catch (n = 1,584 S. lewini 
individuals) based on surveys from 28 Sinaloa artisanal fishing sites 
(Bizzarro et al., 2009). In 2006, elasmobranch landings from this area 
comprised 16.5 percent of the national elasmobranch production, the 
most of any Mexican state, indicating S. lewini as a popular fished 
species in the Mexican shark fishery. S. lewini is also an important 
shark species in the artisanal fisheries operating elsewhere along the 
Mexican Pacific coast. From 2004 to 2005, S. lewini comprised 64 
percent of the artisanal shark catch south of Oaxaca, Mexico (CITES, 
2012). In the Gulf of Tehuantepec, scalloped hammerhead sharks 
constitute the second most important shark species targeted by Mexican 
fishers, comprising around 29 percent of the total shark catch from 
this region (INP, 2006). In fact, from 1996 to 2003, a total of 10,919 
individual scalloped hammerhead sharks were landed from this area and 
brought to port in the Mexican state of Chiapas (INP, 2006), where S. 
lewini and C. falciformis represent 89.3 percent of the shark catch 
(CITES, 2012).
    In Ecuador, sharks are mainly caught as incidental catch in a 
variety of fishing gear, including pelagic and bottom longlines, and 
drift and set gill nets, with scalloped hammerheads used primarily for 
the fin trade. A recent study by Jacquet et al. (2008) found that 
Ecuadorian mainland shark landings have been grossly underestimated. 
Through a reconstruction of catches by small-scale and industrial 
fishers using government reports and grey literature, Jacquet et al. 
(2008) estimated Ecuador mainland landings to be 6,868 mt (average) per 
year from 1979-2004, with small-scale fisheries representing 93 percent 
of the total landings. For the period of 1991-2004, the reconstructed 
estimates were 3.6 times greater than what was reported to the FAO. For 
the years following the study, Ecuadorian records from small-scale 
fisheries show significantly lower catches of the hammerhead complex 
and no clear trend. In 2004, total combined landings from ten of 
Ecuador's main small-scale fishing ports were approximately 149 mt. In 
2005, this number decreased by about 67 percent to 49 mt but 
subsequently increased in the following years to reach a peak of 327 mt 
in 2008. In 2009, landings decreased again by around 71 percent, but 
tripled the following year to reach approximately 304 mt of hammerhead 
sharks in 2010 (INP, 2010).
    In Costa Rica, shark catches reported by the artisanal and longline 
fisheries have shown a dramatic decline

[[Page 20736]]

(approximately 50 percent) after reaching a maximum of 5,000 mt in 2000 
(SINAC, 2012). According to the Costa Rican Institute of Fishing and 
Aquaculture, the estimated total catch of S. lewini by the coastal 
artisanal and longline fleet from 2004-2007 was 823 mt, which 
represented 3 percent of the national Costa Rican total catch of sharks 
for these years (SINAC, 2012).
    Of major concern is that many of the artisanal fishers from the 
Eastern Pacific region are targeting schools of immature S. lewini due 
to the profitability of the younger shark meat (Arriatti, 2011), and 
likely negatively affecting recruitment to this DPS. In Panama, 
directed artisanal fishing for hammerheads has been documented in 
coastal nursery areas, with artisanal gillnet fishery catches dominated 
by neonate and juvenile S. lewini (Arriatti, 2011). Likewise, in Costa 
Rica, many of the identified nursery grounds for scalloped hammerheads 
are also popular elasmobranch fishing grounds and are heavily fished by 
gillnets (Zanella et al., 2009). From 2006 to 2007, artisanal fishers 
operating in the Gulf of Nicoya (central Pacific coast of Costa Rica) 
landed a total of 253 scalloped hammerhead sharks. The average total 
length of these sharks ranged from 75.45-87.92 cm, significantly below 
the maturity sizes that have been documented for this species (Zanella 
et al., 2009). In ``Tres Marias'' Islands and Isabel Island in the 
Central Mexican Pacific, Perez-Jimenez et al. (2005) found artisanal 
fishery catches dominated by immature individuals. Out of 1,178 females 
and 1,331 males caught from 1995-1996 and 2000-2001, less than 1 
percent were mature (Perez-Jimenez et al., 2005). On the coast of 
Chiapas in Mexico, neonates (<= 60cm TL) comprised over 40 percent of 
the Port of Madero catch from 1996-2003 (INP, 2006). Seasonal surveys 
conducted in Sinaloa, Mexico from 1998-1999 depict an active artisanal 
fishery that primarily targets early life stages of S. lewini, with 
only four specimens (out of 1,515) measuring > 200 cm stretched TL 
(Bizzarro et al., 2009). A comparison of landing sizes from this region 
between 1998-1999 and 2007-2008 revealed a significant decrease in S. 
lewini size, indicating a possible truncation of the size of the local 
population (Bizzarro et al., 2009). In Michoac[aacute]n, hammerheads 
represent 70 percent of the catch, with fishing effort concentrated in 
breeding areas and directed towards juveniles and pregnant females 
(CITES, 2012) and reports of the artisanal fisheries filleting the 
embryos of S. lewini for domestic consumption (Smith et al., 2009). 
Overall, the data suggest heavy fishing pressure in scalloped 
hammerhead nursery areas by artisanal fisheries, with substantial takes 
of juveniles and neonates, and possibly pregnant females, of this DPS, 
which is likely to have devastating effects on the stock structure and 
size of the population, especially given the low productivity of the 
species.
    Large numbers of scalloped hammerhead sharks are also caught as 
bycatch in industrial purse seine fisheries operating in the eastern 
Pacific (Rom[aacute]n-Verdesoto and Orozco-Z[ouml]ller, 2005). Since 
1993, observers placed by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission 
(IATTC) regional fishery management organization (RFMO) have recorded 
shark bycatch data onboard large purse seiners in the eastern Pacific. 
Unfortunately, much of this data is aggregated under the category of 
``sharks,'' especially data collected prior to 2005. In an effort to 
improve species identifications in these data, a 1-year shark 
characteristics sampling program was conducted to quantify at-sea 
observer misidentification rates. Rom[aacute]n-Verdesoto and Orozco-
Z[ouml]ller (2005) used the program results and IATTC observer field 
notes to provide summaries of the spatial distributions, size 
composition, and species identification of the IATTC-observed bycatch 
of sharks in the eastern Pacific Ocean tuna purse-seine fishery. From 
1993 to 2004, hammerhead sharks were caught in high numbers as bycatch 
and were most susceptible to the floating-objects type of purse seine 
set (Rom[aacute]n-Verdesoto and Orozco-Z[ouml]ller, 2005). From 2001 to 
2003, their observed numbers in the tuna purse seine sets increased by 
approximately 166 percent to reach a maximum of 1,898 individuals. 
Although specific data on scalloped hammerhead numbers are unavailable, 
results from the 1-year sampling program suggest that scalloped 
hammerhead sharks may comprise around 54 percent of the total 
hammerhead bycatch (Rom[aacute]n-Verdesoto and Orozco-Z[ouml]ller, 
2005). The IATTC observer data also revealed that the majority of the 
bycatch consisted of large hammerhead individuals (>150 cm TL).
    Given the available data on catch trends and the heavy fishing 
effort targeting both juveniles and adults of the species, the ERA team 
concluded, and we agree, that the threat of overutilization by 
industrial/commercial and artisanal fisheries alone was likely to 
contribute significantly to risk of extinction for the Eastern Pacific 
DPS.

Competition, Disease, and Predation

    The ERA team also wanted to examine whether competition, disease, 
and predation were potential threats to the scalloped hammerhead shark, 
but after reviewing the available data, ranked these factors as ``no or 
very low risks,'' meaning these factors are unlikely to contribute 
significantly to any of the DPS' risk of extinction, either by 
themselves or in combination with other factors. Scalloped hammerhead 
sharks are apex predators and opportunistic feeders, with a diet 
composed of a wide variety of items, including teleosts, cephalopods, 
crustaceans, and rays (Compagno, 1984; Bush, 2003; J[uacute]nior et 
al., 2009; Noriega et al., 2011). Although there may be some prey 
species that have experienced population declines, no information 
exists to indicate that depressed populations of these prey species are 
negatively affecting the scalloped hammerhead shark abundance. 
Additionally, discovery of a possibly cryptic species of Sphyrna sp. 
was reported in the northwestern Atlantic (mainly from coastal North 
Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida) and most recently in the western 
South Atlantic (Southern Brazil) (Abercrombie et al., 2005; Quattro et 
al., 2006; Pinhal et al., 2012). This cryptic species is closely 
related to and morphologically very similar to the scalloped hammerhead 
shark (S. lewini); however, little is known about the life history or 
abundance of this species. Although it may compete for similar 
resources as the scalloped hammerhead shark, there are currently no 
available data to indicate it as a threat to the scalloped hammerhead 
shark's existence.
    Furthermore, no information has been found to indicate that disease 
is a factor in scalloped hammerhead shark abundance. These sharks 
likely carry a range of parasites, such as external leeches 
(Stilarobdella macrotheca) and copepods (Alebion carchariae, A. 
elegans, Nesippus crypturus, Kroyerina scotterum); however, they have 
often been observed visiting parasite cleaning stations (Bester, n.d.) 
and no data exist to suggest these parasites are affecting S. lewini 
abundance.
    Predation is also not thought to be a major threat to scalloped 
hammerhead abundance numbers. The most significant predator on 
scalloped hammerhead sharks is likely humans; however larger sharks, 
including adult S. lewini, are known to prey upon injured or smaller 
scalloped hammerheads. In K[amacr]ne`ohe Bay, Oahu, Clarke (1971) 
observed high predation on pups by adult scalloped

[[Page 20737]]

hammerheads. Clarke (1971) also noted that the pup population remained 
high and suggested that new births may compensate for pup mortalities. 
Subsequently, Duncan and Holland (2006) examined mortality rates in 
this bay and estimated juvenile attrition to be 0.85 to 0.93 for the 
first year of life (includes both natural and fishing mortality, as 
well as emigration), a relatively high rate for a nursery habitat. 
However, the authors concluded that weight loss, and not predation, 
significantly contributed to the high natural mortality of the shark 
pups, and suggested the popularity of the nursery ground was due to its 
value as a refuge from predation. In the northwestern Pacific, Liu and 
Chen (1999) estimated a significantly lower attrition rate for age zero 
S. lewini sharks (0.558/year), with natural mortality rates decreasing 
even further to 0.279/year for sharks aged 1-15 years. The ERA team 
noted that there are no major predators of adult scalloped hammerhead 
sharks.
    Based on the available data, we conclude that it is unlikely that 
the threats of competition, disease, or predation is contributing on 
its own or in combination with other factors to the extinction risk of 
any of the six DPSs evaluated.

The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The ERA team evaluated existing regulatory mechanisms to determine 
whether they may be inadequate to address threats to each of the 
scalloped hammerhead DPSs. Existing regulatory mechanisms may include 
Federal, state, and international regulations. Below is a brief 
description and evaluation of current and relevant domestic and 
international management measures that affect each scalloped hammerhead 
shark DPS. More information on these domestic and international 
management measures can be found in the status review report (Miller et 
al., 2013).

NW Atlantic & GOM DPS

    The Atlantic HMS Management Division within NMFS develops 
regulations for Atlantic HMS fisheries, and primarily coordinates the 
management of Atlantic HMS fisheries in Federal waters (domestic) and 
the high seas (international), while individual states establish 
regulations for HMS in state waters. The NMFS Atlantic HMS Management 
Division currently manages 39 species of sharks (excluding spiny 
dogfish, which is managed jointly by the New England and Mid-Atlantic 
Fishery Management Councils, and smooth dogfish, which will be managed 
by the HMS Management Division) under the Consolidated HMS FMP (NMFS, 
2006). The management of these sharks is divided into four species 
groups: large coastal sharks (LCS), small coastal sharks (SCS), pelagic 
sharks, and prohibited sharks. The LCS complex is further divided into 
sandbar sharks and non-sandbar sharks, with different management 
measures for each group. Scalloped hammerhead sharks are currently 
managed within the non-sandbar LCS complex with established acceptable 
biological catch levels to control harvest.
    Every year, NMFS monitors the different commercial shark quota 
complexes and will close the fishing season for each fishery after 80 
percent of the respective quota has been landed or is projected to be 
landed. The non-sandbar LCS commercial quota is split between the Gulf 
of Mexico and the Atlantic regions. One way that NMFS controls and 
monitors this commercial harvest is by requiring U.S. commercial 
Atlantic HMS fishers who fish for or sell scalloped hammerhead sharks 
to have a Federal Atlantic Directed or Incidental shark limited access 
permit. These permits are administered under a limited access program, 
and NMFS is no longer issuing new shark permits. Currently, 214 U.S. 
fishers are permitted to target sharks managed by the HMS Management 
Division in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, and an additional 
285 fishers are permitted to land sharks incidentally. A directed shark 
permit allows fishers to retain 36 LCS, including scalloped hammerhead 
sharks, per vessel per trip whereas an incidental permit allows 
fisherman to retain up to 3 LCS, including scalloped hammerhead sharks, 
per vessel per trip. These limits apply to all gear; however, starting 
in 2011, pelagic longline fishers have been prohibited from retaining, 
possessing, or landing any hammerhead sharks, including scalloped 
hammerhead sharks, due to Recommendation 10-08 from the International 
Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) (76 FR 53652; 
August 29, 2011). In addition to permitting and trip limit 
requirements, logbook reporting or carrying an observer onboard may be 
required for selected commercial fishers. The head may be removed and 
the shark may be gutted and bled, but the shark cannot be filleted or 
cut into pieces while onboard the vessel.
    Scalloped hammerhead sharks may also be retained recreationally 
with either rod and reel or handline gear. Scalloped hammerheads that 
are kept in the recreational fishery must have a minimum size of 54 
inches (4.5 feet) fork length, and only one shark, which could be a 
scalloped hammerhead, may be kept per vessel per trip. When NMFS 
implemented ICCAT's Recommendation 10-08, NMFS prohibited hammerhead 
sharks, including scalloped hammerhead sharks, from being retained, 
possessed, or landed by recreational fishermen if there is a tuna, 
swordfish, or billfish onboard the vessel (76 FR 53652; August 29, 
2011). Since 2008, recreational fishers have been required to land all 
sharks with their head, fins, and tail naturally attached.
    Individual state fishery management agencies have authority for 
managing fishing activity in state waters, which usually extends from 
zero to three nautical miles (5.6 km) off the coast in most cases, and 
zero to nine nautical miles (16.7 km) off Texas and the Gulf coast of 
Florida. In the case of federally permitted shark fishers, fishers are 
required to follow Federal regulations in all waters, including state 
waters, unless the state has more restrictive regulations. To aid in 
enforcement and reduce confusion among fishers, in 2010, the Atlantic 
States Marine Fisheries Commission, which regulates fisheries in state 
waters from Maine to Florida, implemented a Coastal Shark Fishery 
Management Plan that mostly mirrors the Federal regulations for sharks, 
including scalloped hammerhead sharks. States in the Gulf of Mexico and 
territories in the Caribbean Sea have also implemented regulations that 
are mostly the same as the Federal regulations for sharks, including 
scalloped hammerhead sharks. However, the state of Florida, which has 
the largest marine recreational fisheries in the United States and the 
greatest number of HMS angling permits, recently went even further than 
Federal regulations to protect the scalloped hammerhead shark by 
prohibiting the harvest, possession, landing, purchasing, selling, or 
exchanging any or any part of a hammerhead shark (including scalloped, 
smooth, and great hammerheads) caught in its waters (Florida Fish and 
Wildlife Conservation Commission, effective January 1, 2012).
    The ERA team determined, and we agree, that existing domestic 
management measures implemented under U.S. Federal and state 
authorities are adequate to substantially reduce the primary threats 
contributing to the extinction risk of the NW Atlantic & GOM DPS. The 
existing regulatory mechanisms, which strictly manage and control 
exploitation of the species by commercial and recreational fisheries, 
are likely to contribute significantly to stabilizing and increasing 
abundance of

[[Page 20738]]

this DPS. Based on an analysis of recreational and commercial catch and 
landings data from the early 1980s through 2005, the Hayes et al. 
(2009) stock assessment showed that a total allowable catch (TAC) of 
2,853 scalloped hammerhead sharks would allow for a greater than 70 
percent probability of rebuilding the stock within 10 years, an 85 
percent probability of rebuilding within 20 years, and a 91 percent 
probability of rebuilding within 30 years. Under existing Federal shark 
regulations, the average total scalloped hammerhead shark mortality 
from 2006-2010 was less than this Hayes et al. (2009) TAC 
recommendation, suggesting current regulatory measures are adequate to 
protect the scalloped hammerhead shark from risk of extinction. 
Furthermore, because NMFS made an ``overfished'' and ``overfishing'' 
status determination of the scalloped hammerhead stock (76 FR 23794; 
April 28, 2011), it is mandated to implement additional conservation 
and management measures by 2013, providing additional protection for 
the scalloped hammerhead shark stock from overexploitation. Proposed 
conservation efforts are evaluated below in accordance with ESA Section 
4(b)(1)(A).
    Although the ERA team considered the threat of inadequate 
regulatory measures as a low risk to the extinction of this scalloped 
hammerhead shark population, it expressed concerns about the level of 
IUU fishing of this DPS. Since the mid-1990s, the U.S. Coast Guard has 
documented Matamoros Mexican vessels illegally fishing in the area 
surrounding South Padre Island, Texas (Brewster-Geisz and Eytcheson, 
2005). The Mexican IUU fishers use gillnet and longline gear to catch 
sharks for the fin trade, the majority of which are blacktips and 
hammerheads. Based on data from 2000-2005, Brewster-Geisz and Eytcheson 
(2005) estimated that Mexican fishers are illegally catching anywhere 
from 3 to 56 percent of the total U.S. Atlantic commercial shark quota, 
and between 6 and 108 percent of the Gulf of Mexico regional commercial 
quota, indicating a high degree of uncertainty in these estimates. 
Updated data since 2005 show a decrease in the number of detected 
incursions (Brewster-Geisz et al., 2010); however, the extent of IUU 
fishing on the scalloped hammerhead sharks in the Gulf of Mexico 
remains unknown. In 2012, Mexico established an annual shark fishing 
prohibition in its jurisdictional Gulf of Mexico waters (from May 1 to 
June 30) (DOF, 2012), which may also help deter future IUU fishing by 
its fishers, at least during the prohibitive period.

Central & SW Atlantic DPS

    In addition to its jurisdiction in NW Atlantic & GOM DPS waters, 
the United States also has jurisdiction over a very small portion of 
this DPS range, specifically the U.S. EEZ around Puerto Rico and the 
U.S. Virgin Islands (as defined in 50 CFR 622.2), where Federal fishing 
laws apply. NMFS recently published an amendment to the Consolidated 
HMS FMP which specifically addresses Atlantic HMS fishery management 
measures in the U.S. Caribbean territories (77 FR 59842; Oct. 1, 2012). 
Due to substantial differences between some segments of the U.S. 
Caribbean HMS fisheries and the HMS fisheries that occur off the 
mainland of the United States (including permit possession, vessel 
size, availability of processing and cold storage facilities, trip 
lengths, profit margins, and local consumption of catches), NMFS 
implemented measures to better manage the traditional small-scale 
commercial HMS fishing fleet in the U.S. Caribbean Region. Among other 
things, this rule created an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat (CCSB) 
permit, which: allows fishing for and sales of big eye, albacore, 
yellowfin, and skipjack tunas, Atlantic swordfish, and Atlantic sharks 
within local U.S. Caribbean market; collects HMS landings data through 
existing territorial government programs; authorizes specific gears; is 
restricted to vessels less than or equal to 45 feet (13.7 m) length 
overall all; and may not be held in combination with any other Atlantic 
HMS vessel permits. However, at this time, fishers who hold the CCSB 
permit are prohibited from retaining Atlantic sharks, and are 
restricted to fishing with only rod and reel, handline, and bandit gear 
under the permit. Both the CCSB and Atlantic HMS regulations will help 
protect scalloped hammerhead sharks, but only within the U.S. EEZ 
around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and from fishers under 
U.S. jurisdiction.
    Many other foreign commercial and artisanal fisheries operate 
within the range of this DPS, with little to no regulatory oversight, 
and thus existing regulations are likely inadequate to reduce the most 
significant threats to the scalloped hammerhead shark population. For 
example, artisanal gillnet fisheries, known for their substantial 
bycatch problems, are still active in Central America, with many 
allowed to operate in inshore nursery areas. Due in large part to the 
number of sovereign states found in this region, the management of 
shark species in Central America and the Caribbean remains largely 
disjointed, with some countries lacking basic fisheries regulations 
(Kyne et al., 2012). Other countries lack the capabilities to enforce 
what has already been implemented. The Organization of the Fisheries 
and Aquaculture Section of the Central American Isthmus (OSPECA) was 
formed to address this situation by assisting with the development and 
coordination of fishery management measures in Central America. OSPECA 
recently approved a common regional finning regulation for eight member 
countries from the Central American Integration System (SICA) (Belize, 
Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, 
Nicaragua, and Panama). The regulation specifically requires sharks to 
be landed with fins still attached for vessels fishing in SICA 
countries or in international waters flying a SICA country flag. If 
fins are to be traded in a SICA country, they must be accompanied by a 
document from the country of origin certifying that they are not the 
product of finning (Kyne et al., 2012). Other Central American and 
Caribbean country-specific regulations include the banning or 
restriction of longlines in certain fishing areas (Bahamas, Belize, 
Panama), seasonal closures (Guatemala), shark fin bans (Colombia, 
Mexico, Venezuela) and the prohibition of shark fishing (Bahamas and 
Honduras). Unfortunately, enforcement of these regulations is weak, 
with many reports of illegal and unregulated fishing activities. For 
example, in May 2012, the Honduran navy seized hundreds of shark fins 
from fishers operating illegally within the borders of its shark 
sanctuary. As Kyne et al. (2012) reports, it is basically common 
practice to move shark fins across borders for sale in countries where 
enforcement is essentially lacking in this region.
    In South America, Brazil has also banned finning, but continues to 
find evidence of IUU fishing in its waters. In Bel[eacute]m in May 
2012, the Brazilian Institute of Environmental and Renewable Natural 
Resources (IBAMA) seized around 7.7 mt of illegally obtained dried 
shark fins intended for export to China (Nickel, 2012). A few months 
later, IBAMA confiscated more than 5 mt of illegal shark fins in Rio 
Grande do Norte (Rocha de Medeiros, 2012), suggesting current 
regulations and enforcement are not adequate to deter or prevent 
illegal shark finning. In fact, it is estimated that illegal fishing 
constitutes 32 percent of the Southwest Atlantic region's catch (based 
on estimates of illegal and unreported catch

[[Page 20739]]

averaged over the years of 2000 to 2003; Agnew et al., 2009).
    In addition, heavy industrial fishing off the coast of Brazil, with 
the use of drift gillnets and longlines, remains largely unregulated, 
as does the intensive artisanal fishery which accounts for about 50 
percent of the fishing sector. Brazil currently has regulations 
limiting the extension of pelagic gillnets and prohibiting trawls in 
waters less than 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) from the coast; however, as 
is the case with many regulations affecting this DPS, inadequate 
enforcement of these laws has led to continued fishing in these inshore 
nursery areas and resultant observed declines in both adult and 
juvenile scalloped hammerhead abundance (Amorim et al., 1998; Kotas, 
2008; CITES, 2010). Brazil is also presently working on implementing 
new regulations to enforce recent ICCAT recommendations (Hazin personal 
communication, 2012). ICCAT is the RFMO responsible for the 
conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and 
its adjacent seas, and, as mentioned previously, adopted Recommendation 
10-08 prohibiting the retention of hammerheads caught in association 
with ICCAT-managed fisheries. Each Contracting Party to ICCAT is 
responsible for implementing this recommendation. Many countries within 
the Central & SW Atlantic DPS range are Contracting Parties to ICCAT, 
including Brazil, Venezuela, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, 
Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. ICCAT 
Recommendation 10-08 includes a special exception for developing 
coastal States, allowing them to retain hammerhead sharks for local 
consumption provided that they report their catch data to ICCAT, 
endeavor not to increase catches of hammerhead sharks, and take the 
necessary measures to ensure that no hammerhead parts enter 
international trade. As this exception allows hammerheads to be 
retained under certain circumstances, it may provide a lesser degree of 
protection for hammerhead sharks in the developing coastal States that 
choose to take advantage of the exception.
    Given the information above, the ERA team ranked both IUU fishing 
and the inadequacy of current regulatory mechanisms as moderate risks. 
We agree that these factors, in combination with others (such as 
overutilization and low species productivity), likely contribute 
significantly to the Central & SW Atlantic DPS risk of extinction.

Eastern Atlantic DPS

    The ICCAT convention area also covers the range of the Eastern 
Atlantic DPS, providing some protection for scalloped hammerheads; 
however, again, given the special exception available to developing 
coastal States for local consumption, Recommendation 10-08 provides a 
lesser degree of protection for hammerhead sharks in those fisheries. 
Given this exception, the management measures that may be implemented 
to achieve the ICCAT recommendation may not be adequate to protect the 
shark from overutilization. Within the range of this DPS, many of the 
countries that would qualify under this exemption, mainly those 
countries along the west coast of Africa, also have weak or poorly 
enforced country-specific shark fisheries regulations. In other words, 
these countries will be able to continue fishing for scalloped 
hammerhead sharks with little to no regulation on the harvest of the 
species and existing regulatory mechanisms in these areas are not 
considered adequate to control or reduce the primary threats to this 
DPS.
    In Europe, the European Parliament recently passed a proposal 
prohibiting the removal of shark fins by all vessels in EU waters and 
by all EU-registered vessels operating anywhere in the world. 
Previously, the EU prohibited shark finning, but allowed fins and 
bodies to be landed in different ports, resulting in enforcement 
difficulties, and allowed justified exceptions and special permits for 
finning, essentially diminishing the effectiveness of the finning ban. 
In 2009, the EU accounted for up to 17 percent of the global shark 
catch, and is the largest exporter of shark products to markets in 
mainland China and Hong Kong. Therefore, in an effort to close the 
loopholes in the original shark fin regulations and discourage the 
wasteful practice of finning, the European Parliament passed the 
proposal requiring fins be attached to landed sharks. This proposal is 
expected to be approved by member states, which will make the draft law 
definitive.
    Many individual European countries have already implemented 
measures to stop the practice of finning and conserve shark 
populations. For example, England and Wales banned finning in 2009 and 
no longer issue special permits for finning exceptions. France 
prohibits on-board processing of sharks, and Spain recently passed a 
regulation in 2011 that prohibits the capture, injury, trade, import 
and export of scalloped hammerhead sharks, with a periodic evaluation 
of their conservation status. Given that Spain is Europe's top shark 
fishing nation, accounting for 7.3 percent of the global shark catch, 
and was the world's largest exporter of shark fins to Hong Kong in 
2008, this new regulation should provide significant protection for 
scalloped hammerhead sharks from Spanish fishing vessels.
    Although regulations in Europe appear to be moving towards the 
sustainable use and conservation of shark species, these strict and 
enforceable regulations do not extend farther south in the Eastern 
Atlantic, where the majority of scalloped hammerhead sharks are caught. 
Some western African countries have attempted to impose restrictions on 
shark fishing; however, these regulations either have exceptions, 
loopholes, or poor enforcement. For example, Mauritania has created a 
6,000 km\2\ coastal sanctuary for sharks and rays, prohibiting targeted 
shark fishing in this region; however, sharks, such as the scalloped 
hammerhead, may be caught as bycatch in nets. Many other countries, 
such as Namibia, Guinea, Cape-Verde, Sierra Leone, and Gambia, have 
shark finning bans, but even with this regulation, scalloped hammerhead 
sharks are may be caught with little to no restrictions on harvest 
numbers. According to Diop and Dossa (2011), fishing in the SRFC region 
now occurs year-round, including during shark breeding season, and, as 
such, both pregnant and juvenile shark species may be fished, with 
shark fins from fetuses included on balance sheets at landing areas. 
Many of these state-level management measures also lack standardization 
at the regional level (Diop and Dossa, 2011), which weakens some of 
their effectiveness. For example, Sierra Leone and Guinea both require 
shark fishing licenses; however, these licenses are much cheaper in 
Sierra Leone, and as a result, fishers from Guinea fish for sharks in 
Sierra Leone (Diop and Dossa, 2011). Also, although many of these 
countries have recently adopted FAO recommended National Plans of 
Action--Sharks, their shark fishery management plans are still in the 
early implementation phase, and with few resources for monitoring and 
managing shark fisheries, the benefits to sharks from these regulatory 
mechanisms (such as reducing the threat of overutilization) have yet to 
be realized (Diop and Dossa, 2011).
    In addition, reports of IUU fishing are prevalent in the waters off 
West Africa and account for around 37 percent of the region's catch, 
the highest regional estimate of illegal fishing worldwide (Agnew et 
al., 2009; EJF, 2012). From

[[Page 20740]]

January 2010 to July 2012, the UK-based non-governmental organization 
Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) conducted a surveillance project 
in southern Sierra Leone to determine the extent of IUU fishing in 
waters off West Africa (EJF, 2012). The EJF staff received 252 reports 
of illegal fishing by industrial vessels in inshore areas, 90 percent 
of which were bottom trawlers, with many vessels exporting their 
catches to Europe and East Asia (EJF, 2012). The EJF (2012) 
surveillance also found these pirate industrial fishing vessels 
operating inside exclusion zones, using prohibited fishing gear, 
refusing to stop for patrols, attacking local fishers and destroying 
their gear, and fleeing to neighboring countries to avoid sanctions. 
Due to a lack of resources, many West African countries are unable to 
provide effective or, for that matter, any enforcement, with some 
countries even lacking basic monitoring systems. These deficiencies 
further increase the countries' susceptibility to IUU fishing, 
resulting in heavy unregulated fishing pressure and likely 
overexploitation of their fisheries.
    Overall, the ERA team ranked the inadequacy of existing regulatory 
measures and IUU fishing as moderate risks to the entire Eastern 
Atlantic DPS. However, since this DPS is most abundant off waters of 
West Africa, we conclude that the threats concentrated in this area 
would not be greatly minimized by increased conservation measures 
within European waters. The available data suggest that illegal fishing 
is a serious and rampant problem in West African waters, and with lack 
of enforcement of existing regulations and weak management of the 
fisheries in this area, as evidenced by the observed substantial and 
largely unregulated catches of both adult and juvenile hammerheads by 
artisanal fishers in this region, we agree with ERA team's findings and 
conclude that the combination of both the inadequacy of existing 
regulatory measures and IUU fishing are contributing significantly to 
the risk of extinction of this DPS. The ERA team concluded that the 
threat of IUU fishing is also projected to increase as current 
regulatory mechanisms are expected to remain the same in the 
foreseeable future. We agree that the threat of IUU fishing is likely 
to increase in the next 50 years without effective fishery management 
regulations and enforcement in this DPS range.

Indo-West Pacific DPS

    Multiple RFMOs cover the Indo-West Pacific DPS area, including the 
Indian Ocean Tuna Commission in the Indian Ocean and the WCPFC in the 
western Pacific. Currently, these RFMOs require the full utilization of 
any retained catches of sharks, with a regulation that onboard fins 
cannot weigh more than 5 percent of the weight of the sharks. These 
regulations are aimed at curbing the practice of shark finning, but do 
not prohibit the fishing of sharks. In addition, these regulations may 
not even be effective in stopping finning of scalloped hammerheads, as 
a recent study found the scalloped hammerhead shark to have an average 
wet-fin-to-round-mass ratio of only 2.13 percent (n=81; Biery and 
Pauly, 2012). This ratio suggests that fishing vessels operating in 
these RFMO convention areas would be able to land more scalloped 
hammerhead shark fins than bodies and still pass inspection. There are 
no scalloped hammerhead-specific RFMO management measures in place for 
this region, even though this DPS is heavily fished. Subsequently, this 
species has seen population declines off the coasts of South Africa and 
Australia, so much so that in 2012, New South Wales listed it as an 
endangered species.
    Few countries within the Indian Ocean have regulations aimed at 
controlling the exploitation of shark species. Off northern Madagascar, 
where there is an active artisanal fin fishery, sharks are an open 
access resource, with no restrictions on gear, established quotas, or 
fishing area closures (Robinson and Sauer, 2011). On the other hand, 
Oman, Seychelles, Australia, South Africa, and Taiwan all have measures 
to prevent the waste of shark parts and discourage finning. The 
Maldives have even designated their waters as a shark sanctuary. 
However, many of the top shark fishing nations and world's exporters of 
fins are located within the range of this DPS, and have little to no 
regulation (or enforcement) of their shark fisheries. For example, 
Indonesia, which is the top shark fishing nation in the world, does not 
currently have restrictions pertaining to shark fishing or finning. 
Indonesian small-scale fisheries, which account for around 90 percent 
of the total fisheries production, are not required to have fishing 
permits (Varkey et al., 2010), nor are their vessels likely to have 
insulated fish holds or refrigeration units (Tull, 2009), increasing 
the incentive for shark finning by this sector (Lack and Sant, 2012). 
Ultimately, their fishing activities remain largely unreported (Varkey 
et al., 2010), which suggests that the estimates of Indonesian shark 
catches are greatly underestimated. In fact, in Raja Ampat, an 
archipelago in Eastern Indonesia, Varkey et al. (2010) estimated that 
44 percent of the total shark catch in 2006 was unreported (including 
small-scale and commercial fisheries unreported catch and IUU fishing).
    Although Indonesia adopted an FAO recommended shark conservation 
plan (National Plan of Action--Shark) in 2010, due to budget 
constraints, it can only focus its implementation of key conservation 
actions in one area, East Lombok (Satria et al. 2011). The current 
Indonesian regulations that pertain to sharks are limited to those 
needed to conform to international agreements (such as trade controls 
for certain species listed by CITES (e.g. whale shark) or prescribed by 
RFMOs) (Fischer et al., 2012). Due to this historical and current 
absence of shark management measures, especially in the small-scale 
fisheries sector, many of the larger shark species in Indonesian waters 
have already been severely overfished. In the late 1990s, Indonesian 
fishers noticed this decline in shark species and began moving south 
from the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand to the waters of northern 
Australia in order to hunt for shark fins (Field et al., 2009). After 
2001, Australian Customs patrol reported a large increase in the number 
of IUU vessel sightings, mainly from Indonesia, with a peak occurring 
in late 2005 and early 2006 (Field et al., 2009). During 2006, more 
than 4,000 small traditional vessels were spotted by aerial surveys, 
with an average of 22 IUU vessels fishing per day (Field et al., 2009). 
Since this peak, there has been a decline in IUU fishing in Australian 
waters, thought to be due to exhaustion of stocks in easily accessible 
regions near the Australian EEZ, as well as international government 
agreements and domestic policies (Field et al., 2009). Between July 
2008 and June 2012, only 60 Indonesian vessels targeting sharks were 
apprehended (Lack and Sant, 2012). Because illegal shark fishing is 
often unreported, there is a lack of information available on the 
species composition of the IUU shark catch. However, using a small 
collection of shark fins that were confiscated from IUU fishers in 
northern Australian waters, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial 
Research Organisation identified that 8.8 percent of the illegal fins 
belonged to S. lewini. Only one other shark species, the whitecheek 
shark (Carcharhinus dussumieri), was a source of more fins (27.9 
percent) (Lack and Sant, 2008).
    In addition to within the Australian EEZ, IUU fishing, especially 
for shark fins, has been reported in other waters throughout this DPS 
range. The following are documented cases of IUU fishing as compiled by 
Paul (2009). In 2008, off the coast of Africa, a

[[Page 20741]]

Namibian-flagged fishing vessel was found fishing illegally in 
Mozambican waters, with 43 mt of sharks and 4 mt of shark fins onboard. 
In 2009, a Taiwanese-flagged fishing trawler was found operating 
illegally in the South Africa EEZ with 1.6 mt of shark fins onboard 
without the corresponding carcasses. Also in 2009, 250 trawlers were 
found to be poaching sharks in coastal areas in the Bay of Bengal with 
the purpose of smuggling the sharks to Myanmar and Bangkok by sea. 
There are also reports of traders exploiting shark populations in the 
Arabian Gulf due to the lack of United Arab Emirates enforcement of 
finning regulations. In the Western Pacific, in 2007, a Taiwanese-
flagged tuna boat was seized in Palau for IUU fishing and had 94 shark 
bodies and 650 fins onboard. In 2008, a Chinese-flagged fishing vessel 
was arrested by the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) National 
Police for fishing within the FSM's EEZ. Based on the number of fins 
found onboard, there should have been a corresponding 9,000 bodies; 
however, only 1,776 finned shark bodies were counted.
    In Somalia, it is estimated that around 700 foreign-owned vessels 
are operating in Somali waters without proper licenses, and 
participating in unregulated fishing for highly-valued species like 
sharks, tunas, and lobsters (HSTF, 2006). A study that provided 
regional estimates of illegal fishing (using FAO fishing areas as 
regions) found the Western Central Pacific (Area 71) and Eastern Indian 
Ocean (Area 57) regions to have relatively high levels of illegal 
fishing (compared to the rest of the regions), with illegal and 
unreported catch constituting 34 and 32 percent of the region's catch, 
respectively (Agnew et al., 2009).
    Due to the historical exploitation of shark stocks, current levels 
of IUU fishing, and noticeable decline in shark stocks, many Pacific 
Island countries have created shark sanctuaries in their respective 
waters, including Tokelau, Palau, Marshall Islands, American Samoa, 
Cook Islands, and French Polynesia; however, enforcement in these 
waters has proven difficult. Due to the small size of these Pacific 
Island countries, many simply lack the resources to effectively patrol 
their expansive oceanic territory. For example, the country of Palau 
has only one patrol boat to enforce fishing regulations in its 604,000 
km\2\ of ocean waters (Turagabeci, 2012). Because of the relatively 
weak enforcement and potential for large catches of sharks in protected 
waters, IUU vessels are known to fish in these areas, as mentioned 
above, and have been found removing thousands of pounds of shark 
products from these waters (Paul, 2009; AFP, 2012; Turagabeci, 2012). 
So although the creation of shark sanctuaries is on the rise, 
especially in areas of known S. lewini nursery grounds and ``hot 
spots'' in this DPS' range, the protections that they afford the Indo-
West Pacific DPS may be minimal if IUU fishing is not controlled. Thus, 
the ERA team ranked the threat of IUU fishing as a high risk and the 
inadequacy of current regulatory mechanisms as a moderate risk to the 
extinction of the Indo-West Pacific DPS now. The ERA team predicted 
that regulatory measures may increase in the foreseeable future, 
especially in nations that currently lack fishing regulations, but that 
the threat of IUU fishing of this DPS will remain the same. We agree 
with the ERA team's findings. Although nations may implement new, or 
further strengthen existing, fishery management measures that may help 
protect this DPS from overutilization, without effective enforcement of 
these regulations, the benefits of these measures may not be realized.

Central Pacific DPS

    Significant fishery management measures in the Central Pacific help 
to protect this DPS from overfishing. As there are no directed shark 
fisheries on this DPS, the biggest threat to the scalloped hammerhead 
sharks comes from the Hawaii-based pelagic longline fishery. This 
fishery, the largest in the state, currently targets tunas and billfish 
and is managed under the auspices of the WPFMC. Due to the mostly 
unregulated historical take that occurred in this fishery, and the 
demand to continue fishery operations, the WPFMC implemented strict 
management controls for this fishery. Although scalloped hammerheads 
are only caught as bycatch in this longline fishery, the measures that 
regulate their operations have helped to protect this species from 
population declines. Some of these regulations include mandatory 
observers, designated longline buffer zones, areas of prohibited 
fishing, and periodic closures and effort limits. Since 1995, an 
observer program has been in place with targeted coverage of 25 percent 
in the deep-set longline sector and 100 percent in the shallow-set 
sector. This program has provided valuable information on the number of 
scalloped hammerheads caught as bycatch in the fishery. Since many 
protected species can also be found in this DPS' range, the regulations 
aimed at minimizing interactions with these species also protects 
scalloped hammerhead sharks. For example, the Northwestern Hawaiian 
Island (NWHI) Protected Species Zone prohibits longline fishing within 
a 50 nautical mile (92.6 km) radius from the centers of the 
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and atolls. Commercial fishing is also 
prohibited within the boundaries of the Marine National Monuments. 
Around the Main Hawaiian Islands, areas have been designated as closed 
to longline fishing year-round or open only at certain times of the 
year. These regulations are strongly enforced, with catch and bycatch 
of species regularly monitored.
    Additionally, several regulatory mechanisms ban the practice of 
finning, which offer a level of protection to this DPS from 
overutilization for the shark fin trade. The U.S. Shark Conservation 
Act of 2010 requires that sharks lawfully harvested in Federal waters, 
including those located in the range of this DPS, and be landed with 
their fins naturally attached. In 2000, Hawaii made it unlawful to 
harvest or land shark fins in the state or territorial waters of the 
state. These regulatory measures have effectively reduced the harvest 
of sharks from the DPS and export of shark fins from the region to Hong 
Kong (Clarke et al., 2007). Additionally, in July 2010, the State of 
Hawaii enacted additional legislation aimed at curbing shark finning 
(State of Hawaii SB2169), which may further reduce this threat.
    Overall, the strict management of the Hawaii-based pelagic longline 
fisheries, the additional implemented measures aimed at minimizing 
protected species interactions, and the current catch data from 
observers and scientists suggest the regulations in place in this 
region are adequate to protect the Central Pacific DPS from the threat 
of extinction. Therefore, the ERA team ranked the threat of inadequate 
current regulatory mechanisms as a low risk and felt it was unlikely to 
contribute significantly to this DPS' risk of extinction.

Eastern Pacific DPS

    Similar to the RFMO regulations found in the Indo-West Pacific DPS, 
the RFMO that covers the Eastern Pacific DPS area, the Inter-American 
Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), requires the full utilization of any 
retained catches of sharks, with a regulation that onboard fins cannot 
weigh more than 5 percent of the weight of the sharks. Again, these 
regulations are aimed at curbing the practice of shark finning, but do 
not prohibit the fishing of sharks, and, as mentioned previously, the 
fin-to-carcass ratio of 5 percent may not even be effective in 
protecting scalloped hammerhead sharks from being finned. Although 
there are no scalloped

[[Page 20742]]

hammerhead-specific RFMO management measures in place for this DPS, 
many of the measures implemented by the IATTC are aimed at protecting 
non-target species caught by tuna purse-seine vessels. In addition, the 
IATTC encourages the release of live sharks, especially juveniles that 
are caught incidentally and are not used for food and/or subsistence in 
fisheries for tunas and tuna-like species. The IATTC also monitors 
fishing activities, recommending maximum catch limits for longline 
vessels based on recent stock assessment data and issuing closures to 
purse-seine vessels in the convention area. Since hammerheads are 
frequently a bycatch species in purse-seine nets, these closures should 
provide extra protection for the Eastern Pacific DPS.
    In the west-coast based U.S. fisheries, hammerheads are rarely 
caught. This is likely due to the fact that the core scalloped 
hammerhead range is located to the south and west of the U.S. West 
Coast EEZ (Compagno, 1984). Additionally, recent regulations that 
prohibit shallow longline sets, restrict specific types of fishing 
gear, and close various areas to fishing have also contributed to the 
rare catch of hammerheads in the U.S. Pacific fisheries. In 2004, NMFS 
issued a final rule that prohibited shallow longline sets on the high 
seas in the Pacific Ocean by vessels managed under the FMP for U.S. 
West Coast Fisheries for HMS. Vessels under this FMP, however, are 
permitted to target tunas with deep-set longline gear in the high seas 
zone outside the U.S. EEZ, but the number participating is small. 
During the 2009/2010 fishing season, fewer than three vessels, with 100 
percent observer coverage, participated in this deep-set pelagic 
longline fishery (PFMC, 2011). The California/Oregon drift gillnet 
fishery is another U.S. west-coast based fishery where hammerheads may 
be caught as bycatch. In this fishery, target species are mainly 
swordfish and common thresher sharks. The majority of fishing effort 
takes place from August through January within the southern California 
Bight, as this fishery is closed from August 15th to November 15th, in 
an area of approximately 213,000 square miles (551,670 km\2\) off the 
coasts of central California up to Central Oregon for the protection of 
leatherback sea turtles. Additional closures of this fishery take place 
from February 1st to April 30th within 25 nautical miles (46.3 km) of 
the coast, and from May 1st to August 14th within 75 nautical miles 
(138.9 km). Even during the peak fishing season, observer data indicate 
that hammerheads are rarely caught in this fishery. From 1990-2012, a 
total of 8,310 sets were observed with only 50 hammerhead sharks caught 
over this time period. However, none of the hammerhead sharks were 
identified as S. lewini (SWRO, 2012).
    In addition, in January 2011, the U.S. Shark Conservation Act of 
2010 was signed into law, effectively banning the practice of shark 
finning within the U.S. EEZ or on the high seas by U.S. fishing 
vessels. Previously, the U.S. Pacific fisheries lacked a fins-attached 
policy, but with the passage of the U.S. Shark Conservation Act, all 
sharks must be landed with fins naturally attached. Thus, the U.S. 
regulatory measures aimed at managing the Pacific fisheries, including 
the Pacific longline and gillnet fisheries, appear adequate to protect 
this DPS from overutilization by the U.S. west-coast based fisheries.
    Many of the Central American countries in the Eastern Pacific also 
have regulatory mechanisms in place with regard to sharks; however, 
some are stronger than others. For example, Colombia, Costa Rica, and 
El Salvador prohibit shark finning. Panama requires industrial fishers 
to land sharks with fins naturally attached but artisanal fishers may 
separate the fins from the carcass, as long as they satisfy the 5 
percent weight rule. These regulations may help to deter finning, but 
they do not protect sharks from overfishing.
    Although Ecuador has banned directed fishing for sharks in its 
waters, sharks caught in ``continental'' (i.e., not Galapagos) 
fisheries may be landed if bycaught. Panama still allows directed 
artisanal gillnet fishing for juvenile and adult sharks, including S. 
lewini (Arriatti, 2011), as does the Mexican State of Sinaloa, where 
the most popular gear in the elasmobranch fishery are bottom set 
gillnets and longlines (Bizzarro et al., 2009). Bottom fixed gillnets 
are also allowed in the artisanal fishery around ``Tres Marias'' Island 
and Isabel Island in the Central Mexican Pacific, with bycatch 
dominated by juvenile S. lewini (Perez-Jimenez et al., 2005). Although 
Mexico is working towards promoting a sustainable shark and ray 
fishery, the current legislation (NOM-029-PESCA-2006) allows artisanal 
fishers to target hammerheads with longlines within 10 nm from the 
shore and reduces the competition with larger commercial longline 
vessels, which are subsequently restricted to waters 20 nm or more from 
the shore. The restriction of these larger commercial longline vessels 
will be beneficial to the artisanal fleet. However, given the artisanal 
fleets' already substantial fishing effort on sharks (artisanal vessels 
contribute 40 percent of the marine domestic production and comprise up 
to 80 percent of the elasmobranch fishing effort; Cartamil et al., 
2011), this increase in fishing opportunity may further threaten the 
Eastern Pacific DPS, especially since 62 percent of the total Mexican 
domestic shark production comes from the Pacific Ocean (NOM-029-PESCA-
2006). In addition, many of the new regulations are not well understood 
by current Mexican fishers, with very few fishers found to be in 
compliance with them (Cartamil et al., 2011). Mexico also recently 
prohibited shark fishing in its Pacific Ocean waters; however, the 
prohibition period only lasts 3 months (from May 1 to July 31) (DOF, 
2012).
    More restrictive regulations, such as complete moratoriums on shark 
fishing, can be found in this DPS range around Honduras and in the 
Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape. The Eastern Tropical Pacific 
Seascape, a two million square kilometer region that encompasses the 
national waters, coasts, and islands of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, 
and Panama, was created to support marine conservation and sustainable 
use of resources. The Seascape includes the Galapagos, Cocos, and 
Malpelo Islands, and, although designated as a shark sanctuary, there 
is evidence of illegal fishing by both local fishers and industrial 
longliners within many of these marine protected areas. For example, in 
Cocos Island National Park, off Costa Rica, a ``no take'' zone was 
established in 1992, yet populations of S. lewini continued to decline 
by an estimated 71 percent from 1992 to 2004 (Myers et al., n.d.). From 
1998-2004, Jacquet et al. (2008) found Ecuadorian shark fin exports 
exceeded mainland catches by 44 percent (average of 3,850 mt per year), 
and suggested that this discrepancy may have been a result of illegal 
fishing on protected Galapagos sharks. In 2004, this concern over 
illegal fishing around the Galapagos Islands prompted a ban on the 
exportation of fins, but only resulted in the establishment of new 
illegal trade routes and continued exploitation of the scalloped 
hammerhead shark (CITES, 2010). In 2007, Paul (2009) reports of a sting 
operation by the Ecuadorian Environmental Police and the Sea Shepherd 
Conservation Society which resulted in the seizure of 19,018 shark fins 
that were being smuggled over the border on buses from Ecuador to Peru. 
The fins were believed to come from protected sharks in the Galapagos 
Islands. More recently, in November 2011, Colombian environmental

[[Page 20743]]

authorities reported a large shark massacre in the Malpelo wildlife 
sanctuary. The divers counted 10 illegal Costa Rican trawler boats in 
the wildlife sanctuary and estimated that as many as 2,000 sharks may 
have been killed for their fins (Brodzinsky, 2011).
    Although shark finning is discouraged in the waters of this DPS, 
the ERA team voiced concerns about the allowed use of fishing gear that 
is especially effective at catching schools of scalloped hammerhead 
sharks within inshore and nursery areas in this DPS range. Thus, the 
ERA team ranked the threat of inadequate current regulatory mechanisms 
as a moderate risk. Additionally, without stronger enforcement, 
especially in the marine protected areas in the Eastern Tropical 
Pacific, the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms will continue 
to enable the IUU fishing, which was ranked as a threat contributing 
significantly to this DPS' risk of extinction now and projected to 
increase in the foreseeable future. We agree with the ERA team's 
findings.

Other Natural or Man-Made Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence

    Many sharks are thought to be biologically vulnerable to 
overexploitation based on their life history parameters. As mentioned 
previously, the scalloped hammerhead shark is no exception, with 
relatively low estimated productivity values (r = 0.028-0.121; Miller 
et al., 2013). Contributing to the scalloped hammerhead's biological 
vulnerability is the fact that these sharks are obligate ram 
ventilators (they must keep moving to ensure a constant supply of 
oxygenated water) and suffer very high at-vessel fishing mortality in 
bottom longline fisheries (Morgan and Burgess, 2007; Macbeth et al., 
2009). From 1994-2005, NMFS observers calculated that out of 455 
scalloped hammerheads caught on commercial bottom longline vessels in 
the northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, 91.4 percent were dead when 
brought aboard (Morgan and Burgess, 2007). Size did not seem to be a 
factor influencing susceptibility, as 70 percent of the young S. lewini 
(0-65 cm), 95.2 percent of the juveniles (66-137 cm), and 90.9 percent 
of the adults (>137 cm) suffered at-vessel fishing mortality. Soak time 
of the longline had a positive effect on the likelihood of death 
(Morgan and Burgess, 2007), with soak times longer than 4 hours 
resulting in > 65 percent mortality (Morgan et al., 2009). When soak 
time was shortened to 1hour, S. lewini at-vessel fishing mortality 
decreased to 12 percent (Lotti, 2011). Lotti (2011) also found that at-
vessel fishing mortality was negatively correlated with S. lewini 
length (p = 0.0032) and dissolved oxygen (p = 0.003), with male 
scalloped hammerheads showing a higher probability of suffering from 
at-vessel mortality compared to females (p = 0.0265).
    Sphyrna spp. also suffer high mortality in beach net programs (Reid 
and Krogh, 1992; Dudley and Simpfendorfer, 2006). In a study examining 
the protective shark mesh program in New South Wales, Australia, 
Sphyrna spp. was the taxonomic group with the lowest net survival 
rates. The nets used in the protective mesh program were 150 m long and 
6 m deep, with a mesh size of 50-60 cm and soak time generally between 
12 and 48 hours. Out of the 2,031 hammerheads caught by this program 
(from 1972-1990), only 1.7 percent were alive when cleared from the 
nets (Reid and Krogh, 1992). Thus, due to the scalloped hammerhead's 
high at-vessel fishing mortality on a variety of fishing gear, and the 
difficulty of implementing or enforcing measures to mitigate this 
mortality, the ERA team ranked this biological vulnerability as 
contributing significantly to the risk of extinction of each of the 
scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs. We agree that the species' high at-
vessel mortality may be a significant threat to the species, but only 
in combination with other factors, such as low abundance, heavy fishing 
pressure, or inadequate regulatory mechanisms that do not take into 
account this biological vulnerability in the development of fishery 
management measures. Therefore, we conclude that the scalloped 
hammerhead's high at-vessel fishing mortality contributes a greater 
risk of extinction that may be cause for concern to those DPSs where 
abundance is low and decreasing and overutilization and/or regulatory 
mechanisms are significant threats (i.e., Central & SW Atlantic DPS, 
Eastern Atlantic DPS, Indo-West Pacific DPS, and Eastern Pacific DPS).
    Another threat the ERA team identified as affecting the continued 
existence of S. lewini is the shark's schooling behavior. This 
schooling behavior increases the shark's likelihood of being caught in 
large numbers. For example, fishers in Costa Rica were documented using 
gillnets in shallow waters to target schools of juveniles and neonates 
in these nursery areas (Zanella et al., 2009). In Brazil, schools of 
neonates and juveniles are caught in large numbers by coastal gillnets 
and recreational fishers in inshore waters, and subsequently their 
abundance has significantly decreased over time (CITES, 2010). Off 
South Africa, Dudley and Simpfendorfer (2006) reported significant 
catches of newborn S. lewini by prawn trawlers, with estimates of 3,288 
sharks in 1989, and 1,742 sharks in 1992. This schooling behavior also 
makes the species a popular target for illegal fishing activity, with 
fishers looking to catch large numbers of scalloped hammerhead sharks 
(both adult and juveniles) quickly and with relatively little effort. 
In the Malpelo wildlife sanctuary, divers had reported sightings of 
schools of more than 200 hammerhead sharks before the sanctuary became 
a recent target of IUU fishing vessels (Brodzinsky, 2011). Because this 
schooling behavior provides greater access to large numbers of 
scalloped hammerheads, the likelihood of this species being overfished 
greatly increases. Thus, the ERA team ranked the schooling behavior as 
a moderate risk for most of the DPSs, a factor that, in combination 
with others, such as IUU fishing, contributes significantly to the DPS' 
risk of extinction. In the Eastern Pacific DPS, the ERA team ranked 
this schooling behavior as a high risk based on reports of frequent IUU 
fishing on scalloped hammerhead schools in protected waters and the 
evidence of heavy inshore fishing pressure on schools of juveniles and 
neonates in nursery grounds. We agree with the ERA team's findings.

Overall Risk Summary

NW Atlantic & GOM DPS

    The ERA team concluded, and we agree, that the NW Atlantic & GOM 
DPS is at a ``low'' risk of extinction throughout all of its range, now 
and in the foreseeable future. Although the ERA team had some concerns 
about the significant decline in absolute abundance from fisheries, 
they concluded that the population has a high likelihood of rebuilding 
because of stronger fishery management measures and is unlikely to be 
at risk of extinction due to trends in abundance, productivity, spatial 
structure or diversity now or in the foreseeable future. Likelihood 
points attributed to the current level of extinction risk categories 
are as follows: No or Very Low Risk (6/50), Low Risk (20/50), Moderate 
Risk (17/50), High Risk (7/50). None of the team members placed a 
likelihood point in the ``Very high risk'' category for the overall 
level of extinction risk now or in the foreseeable future, indicating 
their strong certainty that the DPS is not, nor will it be, at a very 
high risk of extinction. Likelihood

[[Page 20744]]

points attributed to the other categories for the level of extinction 
risk in the foreseeable future are as follows: No or Very Low Risk (11/
50), Low Risk (26/50), Moderate Risk (12/50), High Risk (1/50). Based 
on the likelihood point distributions, the team was fairly certain that 
the DPS currently has a low to moderate risk of extinction. However, 
the difference of only three likelihood points separating these two 
risk categories indicates a level of uncertainty as to the severity of 
the current threats and demographic risks. This level of uncertainty 
diminishes in the foreseeable future, with the increased number and 
majority of likelihood points for the low risk category.

Central & SW Atlantic DPS

    The ERA team concluded, and we agree, that the Central & SW 
Atlantic DPS is at a ``moderate'' risk of extinction throughout all of 
its range, now and in the foreseeable future. The ERA team agreed that 
the DPS is on a trajectory approaching a level of abundance and 
productivity that places its current and future persistence in 
question. Given the combination of threats including the inadequacy of 
current regulatory mechanisms, the reports of heavy fishing, the high 
at-vessel mortality rate, and the projected increase of commercial, 
artisanal, and IUU fishing, the team does not envision a reversal of 
demographic trends in the foreseeable future that would lessen its risk 
of extinction. Likelihood points attributed to the categories for the 
current level of extinction risk are as follows: Low Risk (8/50), 
Moderate Risk (25/50), High Risk (14/50), and Very High Risk (3/50). 
None of the team members placed a likelihood point in the ``No or very 
low risk'' category for the overall level of extinction risk now or in 
the foreseeable future, indicating their strong certainty that the DPS 
is, and will continue to be, at some risk of extinction. Likelihood 
points attributed to the other categories for the level of extinction 
risk in the foreseeable future are as follows: Low Risk (8/50), 
Moderate Risk (20/50), High Risk (15/50), and Very High Risk (7/50). 
Based on the likelihood point distributions, the team was fairly 
certain that the DPS has a moderate risk of extinction now, receiving 
half of the votes, but expressed some uncertainty regarding the future 
level of extinction risk, increasing the number of likelihood points in 
the high and very high risk categories.

Eastern Atlantic DPS

    The ERA team concluded, and we agree, that the Eastern Atlantic DPS 
is at a ``high'' risk of extinction throughout all of its range, now 
and in the foreseeable future. The ERA team had serious concerns 
regarding the level of overutilization and lack of regulatory 
mechanisms in the Eastern Atlantic DPS. Although Spain and other EU 
countries have implemented new regulations aimed at protecting this 
species in the Atlantic, these management measures are lacking in the 
West African region where enforcement of existing measures is weak and 
IUU fishing is rampant. There is no evidence of this situation in 
western Africa changing in the foreseeable future, as resources are 
very limited. Thus, the ERA team concluded that overutilization by 
artisanal, industrial, and IUU fishing in this area is creating a DPS 
that is at or near a level of abundance and productivity that places 
its current and future persistence in question throughout its entire 
range. Likelihood points attributed to the categories for the current 
level of extinction risk are as follows: No or Very Low Risk (1/50), 
Low Risk (6/50), Moderate Risk (14/50), High Risk (18/50), and Very 
High Risk (11/50). Likelihood points attributed to the other categories 
for the level of extinction risk in the foreseeable future are as 
follows: Low Risk (7/50), Moderate Risk (14/50), High Risk (20/50), and 
Very High Risk (9/50). None of the team members placed a likelihood 
point in the ``No or very low risk'' category for the overall level of 
extinction risk in the foreseeable future, indicating their strong 
certainty that the DPS will be at some risk of extinction. Based on the 
likelihood point distributions, the team was less certain about the 
current risk of extinction for this DPS, with the moderate risk 
category separated from the high risk category by only four likelihood 
points. However, in the foreseeable future, the team expressed 
increased certainty that the DPS would be at a high risk of extinction 
with more likelihood points added to this category while the moderate 
risk category remained the same.

Indo-West Pacific DPS

    The ERA team concluded, and we agree, that the Indo-West Pacific 
DPS is at a ``moderate'' risk of extinction throughout all of its 
range, now and in the foreseeable future. The ERA team was mainly 
concerned about the level of overutilization and limited regulatory 
mechanisms in the Indo-West Pacific DPS and concluded that the DPS is 
exhibiting a trajectory indicating that it is approaching a level of 
abundance and productivity that places its current and future 
persistence in question throughout its entire range. Given the 
inadequacy of current regulatory mechanisms, the reports of heavy 
fishing, increased industrialization, high at-vessel mortality rate, 
and the projected increase of commercial, artisanal, and IUU fishing, 
the team does not envision a reversal of demographic trends in the 
foreseeable future that would reduce its risk of extinction throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range. Likelihood points attributed 
to the categories for the current level of extinction risk are as 
follows: Low Risk (4/50), Moderate Risk (20/50), High Risk (17/50), and 
Very High Risk (9/50). None of the team members placed a likelihood 
point in the ``No or very low risk'' category for the overall level of 
extinction risk now or in the foreseeable future, indicating their 
strong certainty that the DPS is, and will continue to be, at some risk 
of extinction. Likelihood points attributed to the other categories for 
the level of extinction risk in the foreseeable future are as follows: 
Low Risk (3/50), Moderate Risk (19/50), High Risk (16/50), and Very 
High Risk (12/50). Based on the likelihood point distributions, the 
team was fairly certain that the DPS has a moderate to high risk of 
extinction. However, the difference of only three likelihood points 
separating these two risk categories indicates a level of uncertainty 
as to the severity of the current and future threats and demographic 
risks. In addition, three likelihood points were moved to the very high 
risk category in the foreseeable future. The team thought the DPS was 
at a moderate risk of extinction, but were concerned that the situation 
could actually be worse in the future.

Central Pacific DPS

    The ERA team concluded, and we agree, that the Central Pacific DPS 
is at a ``no or very low'' risk of extinction throughout all of its 
range, now and in the foreseeable future. Although the ERA team had 
concerns regarding the threat of overutilization by commercial 
fisheries in combination with the scalloped hammerhead's tendency to 
school, they felt that the current abundance and productivity of this 
DPS, along with the number of suitable nursery grounds and effective 
management measures, provided ample protection from extinction for this 
DPS. Likelihood points attributed to the categories for the current 
level of extinction risk are as follows: No or Very Low Risk (24/50), 
Low Risk (19/50), and Moderate Risk (7/50). None of the team members 
placed a likelihood point in the ``High risk'' or ``Very High

[[Page 20745]]

Risk'' categories for the overall level of extinction risk now or in 
the foreseeable future, indicating their strong certainty that the DPS 
is not, nor will it be, at a high risk of extinction. Likelihood points 
attributed to the other categories for the level of extinction risk in 
the foreseeable future are as follows: No or Very Low Risk (27/50), Low 
Risk (17/50), and Moderate Risk (6/50). Based on the likelihood point 
distributions, the team was fairly certain that this DPS is at a no or 
very low risk of extinction now and in the foreseeable future.

Eastern Pacific DPS

    The ERA team concluded, and we agree, that the Eastern Pacific DPS 
is at a ``high'' risk of extinction throughout all of its range, now 
and in the foreseeable future. The ERA team had strong concerns 
regarding the level of overutilization and limited regulatory 
mechanisms or enforcement of fishery regulations in the Eastern 
Pacific, and concluded that the DPS is at or near a level of abundance 
and productivity that places its current and future persistence in 
question throughout its entire range. Likewise, the present threats, 
which include heavy fishing, IUU fishing, and overutilization by 
industrial/commercial and artisanal fisheries, coupled with the 
behavioral and biological aspects that increase S. lewini's 
susceptibility and mortality to certain fishing gear, will only serve 
to exacerbate the demographic risks currently faced by the DPS in the 
foreseeable future. Likelihood points attributed to the current level 
of extinction risk categories are as follows: Low Risk (6/50), Moderate 
Risk (17/50), High Risk (21/50), and Very High Risk (5/50). None of the 
team members placed a likelihood point in the ``No or very low risk'' 
category for the overall level of extinction risk now or in the 
foreseeable future, indicating their strong certainty that the DPS is, 
and will continue to be, at some risk of extinction. Likelihood points 
attributed to the other categories for the level of extinction risk in 
the foreseeable future are as follows: Low Risk (4/50), Moderate Risk 
(15/50), High Risk (21/50), and Very High Risk (10/50). Based on the 
likelihood point distributions, the team was fairly certain that the 
DPS has a moderate to high risk of extinction, with the high risk 
category receiving more of the votes. In addition, five likelihood 
points were moved to the very high risk category in the foreseeable 
future, indicating increased concern for this DPS.

Efforts Being Made to Protect Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks

    Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA requires the Secretary of Commerce to 
take into account ``* * * efforts, if any, being made by any State or 
foreign nation, or any political subdivision of a State or foreign 
nation, to protect such species, whether by predator control, 
protection of habitat and food supply, or other conservation practices, 
within any area under its jurisdiction or on the high seas.'' The ESA 
therefore directs us to consider all conservation efforts being made to 
conserve the species. The joint USFWS and NOAA Policy on Evaluation of 
Conservation Efforts When Making Listing Decisions (``PECE Policy'', 68 
FR 15100; March 28, 2003) further identifies criteria we use to 
determine whether formalized conservation efforts that have yet to be 
implemented or to show effectiveness contribute to making listing 
unnecessary, or to list a species as threatened rather than endangered. 
In determining whether a formalized conservation effort contributes to 
a basis for not listing a species, or for listing a species as 
threatened rather than endangered, we must evaluate whether the 
conservation effort improves the status of the species under the ESA. 
Two factors are key in that evaluation: (1) For those efforts yet to be 
implemented, the certainty that the conservation effort will be 
implemented and (2) for those efforts that have not yet demonstrated 
effectiveness, the certainty that the conservation effort will be 
effective. The following is a review of the major conservation efforts 
and an evaluation of whether these efforts are reducing or eliminating 
threats by having a positive conservation benefit and thus improving 
the status of the scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs.

U.S. Fishery Management: Amendment 5 to the Consolidated HMS FMP

    On April 28, 2011, NMFS determined that the Northwest Atlantic and 
Gulf of Mexico scalloped hammerhead shark stock was overfished and 
experiencing overfishing (76 FR 23794; April 28, 2011). Under National 
Standard (NS) 1 of the MSA and implementing regulations (50 CFR 
600.310), NMFS is required to ``prevent overfishing while achieving, on 
a continuing basis, the OY [optimum yield] from each fishery for the 
U.S. fishing industry.'' In order to accomplish this, NMFS must 
determine the MSY and specify status determination criteria to allow a 
determination of the status of the stock. In cases where NMFS has 
determined that a fishery is overfished, the MSA, Section 304, mandates 
that NMFS notify the appropriate Fishery Management Council and request 
that the Council take action. The Council must then take action within 
2 years to end overfishing and rebuild the stock in the shortest time 
possible. The NMFS Atlantic HMS Management Division is responsible for 
managing scalloped hammerhead sharks, and is thus responsible for 
taking appropriate action to end overfishing and rebuild the fishery. 
Given this statutory mandate, there is a certainty that NMFS will 
implement conservation and management measures by 2013 that will 
provide for the rebuilding of the scalloped hammerhead shark stock. 
NMFS is currently in the process of finalizing Amendment 5 to the 
Consolidated HMS FMP (proposed on November 26, 2012, 77 FR 70552; 
public comment period closed February 12, 2013), which will prescribe 
management measures and implementing regulations to conserve the 
scalloped hammerhead shark NW Atlantic & GOM DPS.
    The second criterion of the PECE policy is the evaluation that the 
conservation effort will be effective. The specific conservation effort 
that is trying to be achieved is the rebuilding of the Northwest 
Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico scalloped hammerhead shark stock. The 
conservation effort is achieved when the current biomass (B) levels of 
the stock are equal to BMSY. BMSY is the level of 
stock abundance at which harvesting the resource can be sustained on a 
continual basis at the level necessary to support MSY. Stocks are 
considered healthy when F (fishing caused mortality) is less than or 
equal to 0.75 FMSY and B is greater than or equal to 
BOY (BOY = approximately 1.25 to 1.30 
BMSY; the biomass level necessary to produce OY on a 
continuing basis). Specifically, NMFS will establish annual catch 
limits and accountability measures for the scalloped hammerhead shark 
stock to allow for rebuilding of the stock. With fishery rebuilding 
plans, there is an explicit time frame for achieving this conservation 
effort, which will be stated in the Amendment to the FMP. Usually, 
rebuilding targets are set at 10 years unless the biology of the stock 
of fish, other environmental conditions, or management measures under 
an international agreement in which the United States participates, 
dictate otherwise. Then the specified time period for rebuilding may be 
adjusted upward by one mean generation time. The rebuilding plans are 
based on quantifiable, scientifically valid parameters and the progress 
of the

[[Page 20746]]

stock is monitored and reported on as stock assessments are conducted. 
Although Amendment 5 has not yet been finalized, examination of 
previous rebuilding plans for Atlantic coastal shark species may 
provide insight into the effectiveness of these regulatory measures.
    Section 304(e)(7) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that the 
Secretary review rebuilding progress at routine intervals that may not 
exceed 2 years, and thus every year NMFS tracks the biomass trends for 
overfished stocks to monitor this rebuilding progress. Overall, the 
total number of stocks that have been rebuilt under a rebuilding plan 
since 2001 is 26 (approximately 11 percent of the total number of 
managed stocks, and 34 percent of the stocks that have/had rebuilding 
plans). Of the 21 stocks managed by the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, 
around half are currently under a rebuilding plan. Two HMS stocks have 
rebuilt since being under a rebuilding plan: Atlantic swordfish, which 
was rebuilt in year 9 of a 10-year plan, and the Atlantic blacktip 
shark, which is thought to have been rebuilt in year 5 of a 39-year 
plan (however, this stock may have never been overfished).
    The status of the sandbar shark stock may provide a better 
comparison to the potential success rate of the scalloped hammerhead 
shark rebuilding plan. The sandbar shark used to be managed as part of 
the LCS complex; however, enough data were available to conduct a 
separate stock assessment of the species. In 2006, the results of the 
sandbar shark stock assessment showed that the stock was overfished 
with overfishing occurring. Using the available scientific information, 
NMFS published Amendment 2 to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP, 
establishing the rebuilding plan for the sandbar shark. Management 
measures in the implementing regulations included separating the 
sandbar shark from the LCS complex and setting specific quotas and 
retention limits for the species that would allow it to rebuild. 
Specifically, NMFS allowed sandbar retention only by vessels with shark 
research permits, and the limits depended upon research objectives. The 
success of this rebuilding plan can be seen in the latest SouthEast 
Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR 21) of the sandbar shark stock 
(finalized in 2011), which determined that the sandbar shark stock was 
still overfished but no longer experiencing overfishing. In addition, 
it was also determined that the current total allowable catch (TAC) for 
the fishery could result in a greater than 70 percent probability of 
rebuilding by the current rebuilding date of 2070. Similar to the 
sandbar shark, NMFS is working to develop a rebuilding plan that will 
set specific quota and retention limits for scalloped hammerhead sharks 
and allow for the recovery of these sharks in the Northwest Atlantic 
and Gulf of Mexico. Based on the criteria in the PECE policy, in our 
judgment the Amendment 5 to the Consolidated HMS FMP is a conservation 
effort with high certainty of implementation and is highly likely to be 
sufficiently effective to substantially reduce the overutilization of 
the NW Atlantic & GOM scalloped hammerhead shark DPS. Overutilization 
of this DPS by commercial and recreational fisheries was identified as 
a primary threat presenting a moderate risk of extinction to the DPS 
currently, but was expected to decrease in risk severity in the 
foreseeable future. We anticipate that the foregoing conservation 
measures will benefit the status of the species in the foreseeable 
future, thereby further decreasing its extinction risk from the threat 
of overutilization identified by the ERA team.

Shark Fin Bans

    The concern regarding the practice of finning and its effect on 
global shark populations has been growing both domestically and 
internationally. In the United States, California, Oregon, Washington, 
and Hawaii have already passed legislation banning the sale, 
possession, and distribution of shark fins. The support for this 
legislation from the public, as well as conservation groups, has 
prompted many other states to follow suit, with proposals for similar 
bills. Likewise, in Canada, Bill C-380 was introduced in December of 
2011, and would prohibit the import or attempt to import shark fins 
that are not attached to the rest of the shark carcass into Canada.
    The push to stop shark finning and curb the trade of shark fins is 
also evident overseas and most surprisingly in Asian countries, where 
the demand for shark fin soup is highest. Taiwan, the third top 
exporter of shark fins to Hong Kong in 2008, banned the practice of 
shark finning at sea in 2012. Likewise, many hotels in Taiwan, such as 
the W Taipei, the Westin Taipei, and the Silks Palace at National 
Palace Museum, also vowed to stop serving shark fin dishes as part of 
their menus. In November of 2011, the Chinese restaurant chain South 
Beauty removed shark fin soup from its menus, and in 2012, the luxury 
Shangri-La Hotel chain joined this effort, banning shark fin from its 
72 hotels, most of which are found in Asia. Effective January 1, 2012, 
the Peninsula Hotel chain stopped serving shark fin and related 
products. This ban covers the Chinese restaurant and banqueting 
facilities at The Peninsula hotels in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, 
Tokyo, Bangkok, and Chicago. Many supermarket chains in Asia also vowed 
to halt the sale of shark fin products. In 2011, ColdStorage, a chain 
with several outlets in Singapore, banned the sale of shark fin from 
its stores, and in 2012, the Singapore supermarket chains FairPrice and 
Carrefour stated they would also stop selling shark fin in outlets in 
the city-state. Many of these bans have just recently been implemented, 
and thus their effect on reducing the threat of S. lewini 
overutilization is unknown.
    While there seems to be a growing trend to prohibit and discourage 
shark finning domestically and internationally, it is difficult to 
predict at this time whether the trend will be effective in reducing 
the threat of IUU fishing to any particular DPS. We do not find these 
to be conservation measures that we consider effective in reducing 
current threats to the any of the DPSs as we evaluate whether listing 
is warranted.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna 
and Flora

    CITES is an international agreement between governments that 
regulates international trade in wild animals and plants. It encourages 
a proactive approach and the species covered by CITES are listed in 
appendices according to the degree of endangerment and the level of 
protection provided. Appendix I includes species threatened with 
extinction; trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in 
exceptional circumstances. Appendix II includes species not necessarily 
threatened with extinction, but for which trade must be controlled to 
avoid exploitation rates incompatible with species survival. Appendix 
III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which 
has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade.
    In 2012, S. lewini was submitted for inclusion on CITES Appendix 
III by Costa Rica, and is now effectively listed in the appendix. An 
Appendix III listing allows international trade of the species, but 
provides a means of gathering trade data and other relevant 
information. For example, the export of S. lewini specimens from Costa 
Rica requires a CITES export permit issued by the Costa Rica CITES 
Management Authority. For the export of S. lewini specimens from any 
other country, a CITES certificate of

[[Page 20747]]

origin by the Management Authority of that country is required. This 
conservation effort will allow Costa Rica to gain better international 
cooperation in controlling trade of S. lewini both into and out of the 
country. This type of tracking information will also provide previously 
unavailable data on the origin of S. lewini specimens, including fins, 
currently being traded in the global market and allow for a better 
determination of the degree of exploitation and use of this species by 
domestic and foreign fishing fleets. Although this CITES listing will 
likely provide us with better data in the future to assess the status 
of DPSs, it is not a conservation measure that we consider effective in 
reducing current threats to the any of the DPSs as we evaluate whether 
listing is warranted.

Other Conservation Efforts

    There are many other smaller national and international 
organizations with shark-focused goals that include advocating the 
conservation of sharks through education and campaign programs and 
conducting shark research to fill data gaps regarding the status of 
shark species. These organizations include: the Pew Environment Group, 
Oceana, Ocean Conservancy, Shark Trust, Bite-Back, Shark Project, 
Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, Shark Research Institute, and Shark 
Savers. More information on the specifics of these programs and groups 
can be found on their Web sites. All of these conservation efforts and 
non-regulatory mechanisms are beneficial to the persistence of the 
scalloped hammerhead shark. The implementation of many of these 
efforts, especially the shark research programs as well as the CITES 
Appendix III listing, will help to fill current data gaps in S. lewini 
abundance and utilization records. However, it is too soon to tell 
whether the collective conservation efforts of non-governmental 
organizations targeting finning practices and promoting public 
awareness of declines in shark populations will be effective in 
reducing the threats, particularly those related to overutilization of 
the scalloped hammerhead DPSs. Much of the data on shark catches and 
exports since implementation of these conservation efforts is not yet 
available.

Proposed Determinations

    Section 4(b)(1) of the ESA requires that NMFS make listing 
determinations based solely on the best scientific and commercial data 
available after conducting a review of the status of the species and 
taking into account those efforts, if any, being made by any state or 
foreign nation, or political subdivisions thereof, to protect and 
conserve the species. We have reviewed the best available scientific 
and commercial information including the petition, the status review 
report (Miller et al., 2013), and other published and unpublished 
information, and we have consulted with species experts and individuals 
familiar with scalloped hammerhead sharks.
    For the reasons stated above, and as summarized below, we conclude 
that: (1) Scalloped hammerhead sharks in the NW Atlantic & GOM, Central 
& SW Atlantic, Eastern Atlantic, Indo-West Pacific, Central Pacific, 
and Eastern Pacific meet the discreteness and significance criteria for 
DPSs; (2) the Eastern Atlantic and Eastern Pacific scalloped hammerhead 
shark DPSs are in danger of extinction throughout their ranges; (3) the 
Central & SW Atlantic and Indo-West Pacific scalloped hammerhead shark 
DPSs are likely to become endangered throughout their ranges in the 
foreseeable future; and (4) the NW Atlantic & GOM and Central Pacific 
scalloped hammerhead shark DPs are not in danger of extinction or 
likely to become so throughout all of their ranges in the foreseeable 
future.
    Scalloped hammerhead sharks occurring in the NW Atlantic & GOM are 
discrete and significant from other members of their species based on 
the following: (1) Genetic differences between this population and 
those scalloped hammerhead sharks inhabiting waters of the Pacific, 
Indian, and eastern Atlantic oceans; (2) tagging studies that show 
limited distance movements, with no tagged sharks observed in Central 
America or Brazil, supporting the conclusion that the NW Atlantic & GOM 
population is isolated from other populations; (3) significant U.S. 
fishery management measures for this population that separate it from 
scalloped hammerheads found in the Central & SW Atlantic (with the 
exception of those in the U.S. EEZ Caribbean), with differences in 
control of S. lewini exploitation and regulatory mechanisms of 
significance across these international boundaries; and (4) evidence 
that a loss of this segment would result in a significant gap in the 
range of the taxon (from New Jersey to Florida and throughout the GOM), 
with tagging and genetic studies that suggest the segment would 
unlikely be rapidly repopulated through immigration.
    Scalloped hammerhead sharks occurring in the Central & SW Atlantic 
are discrete and significant from other members of their species based 
on the following: (1) Genetic differences between this population and 
those scalloped hammerhead sharks inhabiting waters of the Pacific, 
Indian, and eastern Atlantic oceans; (2) tagging studies that suggest 
limited distance migrations along coastlines, continental margins, and 
submarine features with no observed mixing between the Central & SW 
Atlantic population and the NW Atlantic & GOM population, supporting 
the conclusion of isolation from other populations; (3) fishery 
management measures that are lacking in this DPS compared to NW 
Atlantic & GOM DPS (with the exception of U.S. EEZ Caribbean), with 
differences in control S. lewini exploitation and regulatory mechanisms 
of significance across these international boundaries; and (4) evidence 
that a loss of this segment would result in a significant gap in the 
range of the taxon (from Caribbean to Uruguay), with oceanographic 
conditions that would act as barriers to re-colonization, and tagging 
and genetic studies that suggest the segment would unlikely be rapidly 
repopulated through immigration.
    Scalloped hammerhead sharks occurring in the Eastern Atlantic are 
discrete and significant from other members of their species based on 
the following: (1) Genetic differences between this population and 
those scalloped hammerhead sharks inhabiting waters of the Pacific, 
Indian, and western Atlantic oceans; (2) tagging studies that suggest 
limited distance migrations along coastlines, continental margins, and 
submarine features, with genetic studies that show migration around the 
southern tip of Africa is rare (i.e., no mixing with those sharks found 
in the Indian Ocean), supporting the conclusion of isolation from other 
populations; and (4) evidence that loss of this segment would result in 
a significant gap in the range of the taxon (from Mediterranean Sea to 
Namibia), with oceanographic conditions that would act as barriers to 
re-colonization, and tagging and genetic studies that suggest the 
segment would unlikely be rapidly repopulated through immigration.
    Scalloped hammerhead sharks occurring in the Indo-West Pacific are 
discrete from other members of their species based on the following: 
(1) Genetic differences between this population and those scalloped 
hammerhead sharks inhabiting waters of the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic 
oceans; (2) tagging and genetic studies that show limited distance 
migrations and support isolation from other populations, but suggest 
males mix readily along coastlines and continental margins in this DPS 
due to the high connectivity of

[[Page 20748]]

habitat; (3) fishery management measures that are lacking in this DPS 
compared to those found in the Central Pacific DPS range, with 
differences in control of S. lewini exploitation and regulatory 
mechanisms of significance across international boundaries; and (4) 
evidence that loss of this segment would result in a significant gap in 
the range of the taxon (from South Africa to Japan and south to 
Australia and New Caledonia and neighboring Island countries), with 
oceanographic conditions that would act as barriers to re-colonization, 
and tagging and genetic studies that suggest the segment would unlikely 
be rapidly repopulated through immigration.
    Scalloped hammerhead sharks occurring in the Central Pacific are 
discrete from other members of their species based on the following: 
(1) Genetic differences between this population and those scalloped 
hammerhead sharks inhabiting waters of the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic 
oceans; (2) tagging studies that show limited distance migrations, with 
adults remaining ``coastal'' within the archipelago, and separated from 
other populations by bathymetric barriers, supporting the conclusion of 
isolation from other populations; (3) significant U.S. fishery 
management measures for this DPS that separate it from the Indo-West 
Pacific DPS, with differences in control of S. lewini exploitation and 
regulatory mechanisms of significance across international boundaries; 
and (4) evidence that loss of this segment would result in a 
significant gap in the range of the taxon (from Kure Atoll to Johnston 
Atoll, including the Hawaiian Archipelago) and valuable and productive 
nursery grounds, with oceanographic conditions that would act as 
barriers to re-colonization, and tagging and genetic studies that 
suggest this segment would unlikely be rapidly repopulated through 
immigration.
    Scalloped hammerhead sharks occurring in the Eastern Pacific are 
discrete from other members of their species based on the following: 
(1) Genetic differences between this population and those scalloped 
hammerhead sharks inhabiting waters of the Indo-West Pacific, Central 
Pacific, and Atlantic oceans; (2) tagging studies that suggest wide 
movements around island and occasional long-distance dispersals between 
neighboring islands with similar oceanographic conditions, but 
isolation from other DPSs by bathymetric barriers and oceanographic 
conditions, supporting the conclusion of isolation from other 
populations; and (4) evidence that loss of this segment would result in 
a significant gap in the range of the taxon (from southern CA, USA to 
Peru), with oceanographic conditions that would act as barriers to re-
colonization, and tagging and genetic studies that suggest the segment 
would unlikely be rapidly repopulated through immigration.
    The ESA does not define the terms ``significant portion of its 
range'' (SPOIR) or ``foreseeable future.'' With regard to SPOIR, we 
(NMFS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or, the Services) have 
proposed a ``Draft Policy on Interpretation of the Phrase `Significant 
Portion of Its Range' in the Endangered Species Act's Definitions of 
`Endangered Species' and `Threatened Species''' (76 FR 76987; December 
9, 2011), which is consistent with our past practice as well as our 
understanding of the statutory framework and language. While the Draft 
Policy remains in draft form, the Services are to consider the 
interpretations and principles contained in the Draft Policy as non-
binding guidance in making individual listing determinations, while 
taking into account the unique circumstances of the species under 
consideration.
    The Draft Policy provides that: (1) If a species is found to be 
endangered or threatened in only a significant portion of its range, 
the entire species is listed as endangered or threatened, respectively, 
and the Act's protections apply across the species' entire range; (2) a 
portion of the range of a species is ``significant'' if its 
contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, 
without that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction; (3) 
the range of a species is considered to be the general geographical 
area within which that species can be found at the time FWS or NMFS 
makes any particular status determination; and (4) if the species is 
not endangered or threatened throughout all of its range, but it is 
endangered or threatened within a significant portion of its range, and 
the population in that significant portion is a valid DPS, we will list 
the DPS rather than the entire taxonomic species or subspecies.
    Given that the scalloped hammerhead shark is a highly mobile 
species, with very few restrictions governing its movements within each 
DPS, we did not find any evidence to suggest that a portion of any 
single DPS' range had increased importance over another with respect to 
the species' survival within each respective DPS. The ERA team 
initially considered the islands in the Central Pacific as a potential 
SPOIR, given their numerous nursery grounds and likelihood as a 
population source for the region. However, upon further review, the ERA 
team found that this area qualified as a DPS and analyzed it as such. 
In addition, the available data did not indicate any portion of any DPS 
range as being more significant than another. Potentially important 
aspects of a DPS range, such as identified nursery grounds or ``hot 
spots'' of aggregations, were represented elsewhere in the range, 
suggesting that if the population in a specific nursery ground or ``hot 
spot'' disappeared, the DPS would not be in danger of extinction 
throughout its range. There was no evidence of any DPS being limited to 
a specific nursery ground or schooling location. In fact, Duncan et al. 
(2006) provided mtDNA data that argued against strong natal homing 
behavior by the species, and instead suggested that the habitat 
characteristics of the nursery area were more important than the 
location. Since available nursery habitat was not identified as a 
limiting factor in any of the DPSs, we did not consider this as a 
significant portion of range. Thus, when making our determinations, we 
considered the status of each DPS throughout its entire range as no 
SPOIRs could be identified.
    With respect to the term ``foreseeable future,'' we accepted the 
ERA team's definition and rationale of 50 years as reasonable for the 
reliable prediction of threats to the biological status of the species. 
That rationale was provided in detail above.
    As discussed, we have independently reviewed and evaluated the best 
available scientific and commercial information related to the status 
of each DPS, including the demographic risks and trends and the 
multiple threats related to the factors set forth in the ESA Section 
4(a)(1)(A)-(E). As we explained, no portion of any DPS's range is 
considered significant and we therefore have determined that no DPS is 
threatened or endangered in a significant portion of its range. Our 
determinations set forth above and summarized below are thus based on 
the status of each DPS across its entire range. Based on our evaluation 
of the status of each DPS and the threats to its persistence we 
predicted the likelihood that each DPS is in danger of extinction 
throughout all of its range now and in the foreseeable future. We 
considered each of the statutory factors to determine whether it 
presented an extinction risk to each DPS on its own. We also considered 
the combination of those factors to determine whether they collectively 
contributed to the extinction of each DPS. As required by the ESA, 
Section 4(b)(1)(a), we also took into account efforts to protect 
scalloped hammerhead sharks by states, foreign nations and others and 
evaluated

[[Page 20749]]

whether those efforts provide a conservation benefit to each DPS and 
reduced threats to the extent that a DPS did not warrant listing or 
could be listed as threatened rather than endangered. Our conclusions 
and proposed listing determinations are based on a synthesis and 
integration of the foregoing information, factors and considerations.
    Below are the summaries of our proposed determinations:
    We have determined that the Eastern Atlantic DPS of scalloped 
hammerhead sharks is currently in danger of extinction throughout all 
of its range. Factors supporting this conclusion include 
overutilization, inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms and other 
natural or manmade factors, specifically: (1) Low productivity rates; 
(2) high susceptibility to overfishing, especially given its schooling 
behavior; (3) significant historical removals of sharks, including 
scalloped hammerheads, by artisanal and industrial fisheries, with 
directed shark fisheries still in operation and heavy fishing pressure 
despite evidence of species' extirpations and declines of large 
hammerheads; (4) high at-vessel mortality rate associated with 
incidental capture in fisheries (resulting in further reduction of 
population productivity and abundance); (5) popularity of the species 
in the shark fin trade; and (6) inadequate regulatory mechanisms along 
the coast of West Africa, with severe enforcement issues leading to 
heavy IUU fishing. Therefore, we propose to list the Eastern Atlantic 
DPS of scalloped hammerhead sharks as endangered.
    We have determined that the Eastern Pacific DPS of scalloped 
hammerhead sharks is also currently in danger of extinction throughout 
all of its range. Factors supporting this conclusion include 
overutilization, inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms and other 
natural or manmade factors, specifically: (1) Reduced abundance, 
declining population trends and catch, and evidence of size truncation; 
(2) low productivity rates; (2) high susceptibility to overfishing, 
especially given its schooling behavior, with artisanal fisheries 
targeting juveniles of the species in inshore and nursery areas; (3) 
high at-vessel mortality rate associated with incidental capture in 
fisheries (resulting in further reduction of population productivity 
and abundance); (4) popularity of the species in the shark fin trade 
and importance in Mexican artisanal fisheries; and (5) limited 
regulatory mechanisms and weak enforcement in many areas, leading to 
IUU fishing of the species, especially in protected waters. Therefore, 
we propose to list the Eastern Pacific DPS of scalloped hammerhead 
sharks as endangered.
    We have determined that the Central & SW Atlantic DPS of scalloped 
hammerhead sharks is not presently in danger of extinction, but likely 
to become so in the foreseeable future throughout all of its range. 
Factors supporting a conclusion that this DPS is not presently in 
danger of extinction include: (1) Low productivity rates but moderate 
rebound potential to pelagic longline fisheries common in this DPS; (2) 
ICCAT recommendations slated for implementation (or already 
implemented) by Contracting Parties that offer protection for this 
species from ICCAT fishing vessels; (3) regulations that limit the 
extension of pelagic gillnets and trawls, shark fin bans, and 
prohibitions on shark fishing or the retention of scalloped hammerhead 
sharks; and (4) evidence that sharks are still present in significant 
enough numbers to be caught by commercial and artisanal fisheries. 
Factors supporting a conclusion that the DPS is likely to become in 
danger of extinction in the foreseeable future include overutilization, 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms and other natural or 
manmade factors, specifically: (1) Decreasing catch trends suggesting 
population decline, (2) high susceptibility to overfishing, especially 
given its schooling behavior, with artisanal fisheries catching large 
numbers of juveniles in inshore and nursery areas; (3) high at-vessel 
mortality rate associated with incidental capture in fisheries 
(resulting in further reduction of population productivity and 
abundance); (4) popularity of the species in the shark fin trade; and 
(5) limited regulatory mechanisms and/or weak enforcement in some 
areas, leading to IUU fishing of the species. Therefore, we propose to 
list the Central & SW Atlantic DPS of scalloped hammerhead sharks as 
threatened.
    We have determined that the Indo-West Pacific DPS of scalloped 
hammerhead sharks is not presently in danger of extinction, but likely 
to become so in the foreseeable future throughout all of its range. 
Factors supporting a conclusion that this DPS is not presently in 
danger of extinction include: (1) Relatively high reported catches of 
the species off the coasts of South Africa and Queensland, Australia; 
(2) still observed throughout the entire range of this DPS with the 
overall population size uncertain given the expansive range of this 
DPS; and (3) current regulations that prevent the waste of shark parts 
and discourage finning in this region, with the number of shark 
sanctuaries on the rise in the Western Pacific. Factors supporting a 
conclusion that the DPS is likely to become in danger of extinction in 
the foreseeable future include overutilization, inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms and other natural or manmade factors, 
specifically: (1) Decreases in CPUE of sharks off the coasts of South 
Africa and Australia and in longline catch in Papua New Guinea and 
Indonesian waters, suggesting localized population declines, (2) high 
susceptibility to overfishing, especially given its schooling behavior, 
in artisanal fisheries and industrial/commercial fisheries; (3) high 
at-vessel mortality rate associated with incidental capture in 
fisheries (resulting in further reduction of population productivity 
and abundance); (4) popularity of the species in the shark fin trade; 
and (5) inadequate regulatory mechanisms and/or weak enforcement of 
current regulations in many areas, resulting in frequent reports of IUU 
fishing of the species. Therefore, we propose to list the Indo-West 
Pacific DPS of scalloped hammerhead sharks as threatened.
    We conclude that the NW Atlantic & GOM DPS of scalloped hammerhead 
sharks is not presently in danger of extinction, nor is it likely to 
become so in the foreseeable future throughout all of its range. 
Factors supporting this conclusion include: (1) Abundance numbers for 
this DPS that are lower than historical levels but seem to have been 
constant over the past few years, with a high probability of population 
recovery under recent catch levels; (2) significant fishery management 
measures that are in place, including both state and Federal 
regulations, with scalloped hammerhead-specific sustainability, 
conservation, and rebuilding goals; (3) extensive EFH for the species 
that has been designated along the range of this DPS, with no evidence 
of habitat loss or destruction; and (4) low productivity rates for the 
species but moderate rebound potential to pelagic longline fisheries 
within the range of this DPS. We determined that the comprehensive 
science-based management of this DPS and enforceable and effective 
regulatory structure as discussed previously in this proposed rule 
significantly minimize this DPS' extinction risk from threats of 
overutilization and IUU fishing to the point where we do not find this 
DPS in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future. Under 
current fishery management, the DPS has a high probability of 
rebuilding within 50 years, and considering formalized

[[Page 20750]]

conservation efforts, such as Amendment 5 to the HMS FMP and 
implementing regulations, we find that these regulatory mechanisms are 
likely to further reduce the significant threats to this DPS (primarily 
overexploitation by commercial and recreational fisheries, exacerbated 
by the species' high at-vessel fishing mortality) and benefit the 
conservation status of the DPS. Therefore, we conclude that listing the 
NW Atlantic & GOM scalloped hammerhead shark DPS as threatened or 
endangered under the ESA is not warranted at this time.
    We also conclude that the Central Pacific DPS of scalloped 
hammerhead sharks is not presently in danger of extinction, nor is it 
likely to become so in the foreseeable future throughout all of its 
range. Factors supporting this conclusion include: (1) Abundance 
numbers for this DPS that are perceived to be high; (2) ample 
productive nursery grounds that are present in the range of this DPS, 
with no evidence of habitat loss or destruction; (3) low productivity 
rates for the species but data that show it is rarely caught in 
Hawaiian-based fisheries; and (4) significant fishery management 
measures that are in place, including both state and Federal 
regulations, that protect the species from extinction. We determined 
that the high population abundance of this DPS and effective existing 
fishery management measures and regulatory structure, reflected in the 
rare catch of this DPS in fisheries operating within its range, 
minimized the threat of overutilization by commercial fisheries to the 
point where this DPS is not currently at risk of extinction. In 
addition, we find that regulatory mechanisms will likely only increase 
in their strength and effectiveness in minimizing the extinction risk 
of this DPS in the next 50 years, making it unlikely that the threat of 
overutilization will be a significant risk to this DPS' continued 
existence in the foreseeable future. Therefore, we conclude that 
listing the Central Pacific scalloped hammerhead shark DPS as 
threatened or endangered under the ESA is not warranted at this time.

Effects of Listing

    Conservation measures provided for species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the ESA include recovery plans and actions (16 U.S.C. 
1536(f)); concurrent designation of critical habitat if prudent and 
determinable (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(A)); Federal agency requirements to 
consult with NMFS and to ensure its actions do not jeopardize the 
species or result in adverse modification or destruction of critical 
habitat should it be designated (16 U.S.C. 1536); and prohibitions on 
taking (16 U.S.C. 1538). Recognition of the species' plight through 
listing promotes conservation actions by Federal and state agencies, 
foreign entities, private groups, and individuals. Should the proposed 
listings be made final, a recovery plan or plans may be developed, 
unless such plan would not promote the conservation of the species.

Identifying Section 7 Consultation Requirements

    Section 7(a)(2) (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)) of the ESA and NMFS/FWS 
regulations require Federal agencies to confer with us on actions 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of species proposed for 
listing, or that result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
proposed critical habitat. If a proposed species is ultimately listed, 
Federal agencies must consult on any action they authorize, fund, or 
carry out if those actions may affect the listed species or its 
critical habitat and ensure that such actions do not jeopardize the 
species or result in adverse modification or destruction of critical 
habitat should it be designated. Examples of Federal actions that may 
affect scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs include, but are not limited to: 
alternative energy projects, discharge of pollution from point sources, 
non-point source pollution, contaminated waste and plastic disposal, 
dredging, pile-driving, water quality standards, vessel traffic, 
aquaculture facilities, military activities, and fisheries management 
practices.

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 
1532(3)) as: (1) The specific areas within the geographical area 
occupied by a species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the 
ESA, on which are found those physical or biological features (a) 
essential to the conservation of the species and (b) that may require 
special management considerations or protection; and (2) specific areas 
outside the geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is 
listed upon a determination that such areas are essential for the 
conservation of the species. ``Conservation'' means the use of all 
methods and procedures needed to bring the species to the point at 
which listing under the ESA is no longer necessary. Section 4(a)(3)(a) 
of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(A)) requires that, to the extent 
prudent and determinable, critical habitat be designated concurrently 
with the listing of a species. Designations of critical habitat must be 
based on the best scientific data available and must take into 
consideration the economic, national security, and other relevant 
impacts of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. If we 
determine that it is prudent and determinable, we will publish a 
proposed designation of critical habitat for scalloped hammerhead 
sharks in a separate rule. Public input on features and areas that may 
meet the definition of critical habitat for the Central & SW Atlantic, 
Indo-West Pacific, and Eastern Pacific DPS is invited. These DPSs are 
the only DPSs proposed for listing that occur in U.S. waters or its 
territories.

Take Prohibitions

    Because we are proposing to list the Eastern Pacific and Eastern 
Atlantic DPSs as endangered, all of the take prohibitions of section 
9(a)(1) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538(a)(1)) will apply to those 
particular species if they become listed as endangered. These include 
prohibitions against importing, exporting, engaging in foreign or 
interstate commerce, or ``taking'' of the species. ``Take'' is defined 
under the ESA as ``to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, 
trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct.'' 
These prohibitions apply to all persons, organizations and entities 
subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including in the 
United States, its territorial sea, or on the high seas.
    In the case of threatened species, ESA section 4(d) requires the 
Secretary to issue regulations deemed necessary and appropriate for the 
conservation of the species. We have flexibility under section 4(d) to 
tailor protective regulations based on the needs of and threats to the 
species. The section 4(d) protective regulations may prohibit, with 
respect to threatened species, some or all of the acts which section 
9(a) of the ESA prohibits with respect to endangered species. We will 
evaluate protective regulations pursuant to section 4(d) for the 
threatened scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs and propose any considered 
necessary and advisable for conservation of these species in a future 
rulemaking. In order to inform our consideration of appropriate 
protective regulations for these DPSs, we seek information from the 
public on the threats to the Central & SW Atlantic DPS and the Indo-
West Pacific DPS and possible measures for their conservation.

Identification of Those Activities That Would Constitute a Violation of 
Section 9 of the ESA

    On July 1, 1994, NMFS and FWS published a policy (59 FR 34272) that

[[Page 20751]]

requires us to identify, to the maximum extent practicable at the time 
a species is listed, those activities that would or would not 
constitute a violation of section 9 of the ESA. The intent of this 
policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of a listing on 
proposed and ongoing activities within a species' range. We will 
identify, to the extent known at the time of the final rule, specific 
activities that will not be considered likely to result in violation of 
section 9, as well as activities that will be considered likely to 
result in violation. Based on currently available information, we 
conclude that the following types of activities are those that may be 
most likely to violate the section 9 prohibitions against ``take'' of 
the scalloped hammerhead shark Eastern Atlantic and Eastern Pacific 
DPSs include, the following: (1) Importation of fins or any part of a 
scalloped hammerhead shark; (2) exportation of fins or any part of a 
scalloped hammerhead shark; (3) take of fins or any part of a scalloped 
hammerhead shark, including fishing for, capturing, handling, or 
possessing scalloped hammerhead sharks or fins; (4) sale of fins or any 
part of a scalloped hammerhead shark; (5) delivery of fins or any part 
of a scalloped hammerhead shark; and (6) any activities that may impact 
the water column attributes in scalloped hammerhead nursery grounds 
(e.g. development and habitat alterations, point and non-point source 
discharge of persistent contaminants, toxic waste and other pollutant 
disposal). We emphasize that whether a violation results from a 
particular activity is entirely dependent upon the facts and 
circumstances of each incident. The mere fact that an activity may fall 
within one of these categories does not mean that the specific activity 
will cause a violation; due to such factors as location and scope, 
specific actions may not result in direct or indirect adverse effects 
on the species. Further, an activity not listed may in fact result in a 
violation.

Role of Peer Review

    The intent of the peer review policy is to ensure that listings are 
based on the best scientific and commercial data available. In December 
2004, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Final 
Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review establishing minimum peer 
review standards, a transparent process for public disclosure of peer 
review planning, and opportunities for public participation. The OMB 
Bulletin, implemented under the Information Quality Act (Pub. L. 106-
554), is intended to enhance the quality and credibility of the Federal 
government's scientific information, and applies to influential or 
highly influential scientific information disseminated on or after June 
16, 2005. To satisfy our requirements under the OMB Bulletin, we 
obtained independent peer review of the status review report. 
Independent specialists were selected from the academic and scientific 
community for this review. All peer reviewer comments were addressed 
prior to dissemination of the final status review report and 
publication of this proposed rule.
    On July 1, 1994, the NMFS and USFWS published a series of policies 
regarding listings under the ESA, including a policy for peer review of 
scientific data (59 FR 34270). The intent of the peer review policy is 
to ensure that listings are based on the best scientific and commercial 
data available. Prior to a final listing, NMFS will solicit the expert 
opinions of three qualified specialists selected from the academic and 
scientific community, Federal and state agencies, and the private 
sector on listing recommendations to ensure the best biological and 
commercial information is being used in the decision-making process, as 
well as to ensure that reviews by recognized experts are incorporated 
into the review process of rulemakings developed in accordance with the 
requirements of the ESA.

Public Comments Solicited on Listing

    To ensure that the final action resulting from this proposal will 
be as accurate and effective as possible, we solicit comments and 
suggestions from the public, other governmental agencies, the 
scientific community, industry, environmental groups, and any other 
interested parties. Comments are encouraged on this proposal (See DATES 
and ADDRESSES). Specifically, we are interested in information 
regarding: (1) The proposed scalloped hammerhead DPS delineations; (2) 
the population structure of scalloped hammerhead sharks; (3) habitat 
within the range of the proposed for listing DPSs that was present in 
the past, but may have been lost over time; (4) biological or other 
relevant data concerning any threats to the scalloped hammerhead shark 
DPSs we propose for listing; (5) the range, distribution, and abundance 
of these scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs; (6) current or planned 
activities within the range of the scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs we 
propose for listing and their possible impact on these DPSs; (7) recent 
observations or sampling of the scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs we 
propose for listing; and (8) efforts being made to protect the 
scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs we propose to list. We are also 
specifically interested in information regarding the Indo-West Pacific 
DPS, mainly the population structure, range, distribution, and recent 
observations or sampling of scalloped hammerhead sharks around the 
Western Pacific Islands.

Public Comments Solicited on Critical Habitat

    We request quantitative evaluations describing the quality and 
extent of habitats for the Central & SW Atlantic, Eastern Pacific, and 
Indo-West Pacific DPSs, as well as information on areas that may 
qualify as critical habitat for these proposed DPSs. Specific areas 
that include the physical and biological features essential to the 
conservation of these DPSs, where such features may require special 
management considerations or protection, should be identified. 
Essential features may include, but are not limited to, features 
specific to individual species' ranges, habitats and life history 
characteristics within the following general categories of habitat 
features: (1) Space for individual growth and for normal behavior; (2) 
food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or 
physiological requirements; (3) cover or shelter; (4) sites for 
reproduction and development of offspring; and (5) habitats that are 
protected from disturbance or are representative of the historical, 
geographical, and ecological distributions of the species (50 CFR 
424.12(b)). Areas outside the occupied geographical area should also be 
identified, if such areas themselves are essential to the conservation 
of the species. ESA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(h) 
specify that critical habitat shall not be designated within foreign 
countries or in other areas outside of U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, we 
request information only on potential areas of critical habitat within 
waters under U.S. jurisdiction.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the ESA requires the Secretary to consider the 
``economic impact, impact on national security, and any other relevant 
impact'' of designating a particular area as critical habitat. Section 
4(b)(2) also authorizes the Secretary to exclude from a critical 
habitat designation those particular areas where the Secretary finds 
that the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of designation, 
unless excluding that area will result in extinction of the species. 
For features and areas potentially qualifying as critical habitat, we 
also request information describing: (1) Activities or other threats to 
the essential features or

[[Page 20752]]

activities that could be affected by designating them as critical 
habitat; and (2) the positive and negative economic, national security 
and other relevant impacts, including benefits to the recovery of the 
species, likely to result if these areas are designated as critical 
habitat. We seek information regarding the conservation benefits of 
designating areas within waters under U.S. jurisdiction as critical 
habitat. In keeping with the guidance provided by OMB (2000; 2003), we 
seek information that would allow the monetization of these effects to 
the extent possible, as well as information on qualitative impacts to 
economic values.
    Data reviewed may include, but are not limited to: (1) Scientific 
or commercial publications; (2) administrative reports, maps or other 
graphic materials; (3) information received from experts; and (4) 
comments from interested parties. Comments and data particularly are 
sought concerning: (1) Maps and specific information describing the 
amount, distribution, and use type (e.g., foraging or migration) by the 
proposed scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs, as well as any additional 
information on occupied and unoccupied habitat areas; (2) the reasons 
why any habitat should or should not be determined to be critical 
habitat as provided by sections 3(5)(A) and 4(b)(2) of the ESA; (3) 
information regarding the benefits of designating particular areas as 
critical habitat; (4) current or planned activities in the areas that 
might be proposed for designation and their possible impacts; (5) any 
foreseeable economic or other potential impacts resulting from 
designation, and in particular, any impacts on small entities; (6) 
whether specific unoccupied areas may be essential to provide 
additional habitat areas for the conservation of the proposed DPSs; and 
(7) potential peer reviewers for a proposed critical habitat 
designation, including persons with biological and economic expertise 
relevant to the species, region, and designation of critical habitat. 
We seek information regarding critical habitat for the proposed 
scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs as soon as possible, but no later than 
July 5, 2013.

Public Hearings

    If requested by the public by May 20, 2013, hearings will be held 
regarding the proposed scalloped hammerhead shark DPSs. If hearings are 
requested, details regarding location(s), date(s), and time(s) will be 
published in a forthcoming Federal Register notice.

References

    A complete list of all references cited herein is available upon 
request (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Classification

National Environmental Policy Act

    The 1982 amendments to the ESA, in section 4(b)(1)(A), restrict the 
information that may be considered when assessing species for listing. 
Based on this limitation of criteria for a listing decision and the 
opinion in Pacific Legal Foundation v. Andrus, 657 F. 2d 829 (6th Cir. 
1981), we have concluded that ESA listing actions are not subject to 
the environmental assessment requirements of the National Environmental 
Policy Act (See NOAA Administrative Order 216-6).

Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Flexibility Act, and Paperwork 
Reduction Act

    As noted in the Conference Report on the 1982 amendments to the 
ESA, economic impacts cannot be considered when assessing the status of 
a species. Therefore, the economic analysis requirements of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act are not applicable to the listing process. 
In addition, this proposed rule is exempt from review under Executive 
Order 12866. This proposed rule does not contain a collection-of-
information requirement for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction 
Act.

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    In accordance with E.O. 13132, we determined that this proposed 
rule does not have significant Federalism effects and that a Federalism 
assessment is not required. In keeping with the intent of the 
Administration and Congress to provide continuing and meaningful 
dialogue on issues of mutual state and Federal interest, this proposed 
rule will be given to the relevant state agencies in each state in 
which the species is believed to occur, and those states will be 
invited to comment on this proposal. We have considered, among other 
things, Federal, state, and local conservation measures. As we proceed, 
we intend to continue engaging in informal and formal contacts with the 
state, and other affected local or regional entities, giving careful 
consideration to all written and oral comments received.

List of Subjects

50 CFR Part 223

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, 
Transportation.

50 CFR Part 224

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, 
Transportation.

    Dated: March 28, 2013.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and 
duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR parts 223 and 224 
are proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 223--THREATENED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES

0
1. The authority citation for part 223 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531-1543; subpart B, Sec.  223.201-202 
also issued under 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 5503(d) for 
Sec.  223.206(d)(9).

0
2. In Sec.  223.102, paragraphs (c)(30) and (c)(31) are added to read 
as follows:


Sec.  223.102  Enumeration of threatened marine and anadromous species.

* * * * *

[[Page 20753]]



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Species \1\                                               Citation(s) for    Citation(s) for
--------------------------------------------------      Where listed             listing        critical habitat
          Common name            Scientific name                            determination(s)     designation(s)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
(c) * * *
(30) Scalloped hammerhead       Sphyrna lewini...  Central and Southwest   [INSERT FR
 shark--Central & SW Atlantic                       Atlantic Distinct       CITATION & DATE
 DPS.                                               Population Segment.     WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                    The boundaries for      A FINAL RULE].
                                                    this DPS are as
                                                    follows: bounded to
                                                    the north by 28[deg]
                                                    N. lat., to the east
                                                    by 30[deg] W. long.,
                                                    and to the south by
                                                    36[deg] S. lat.
                                                    Includes all waters
                                                    of the Caribbean Sea,
                                                    comprising the
                                                    Bahamas' EEZ off the
                                                    coast of Florida as
                                                    well as Cuba's EEZ.
(31) Scalloped hammerhead       Sphyrna lewini...  Indo-West Pacific       [INSERT FR
 shark--Indo-West Pacific DPS.                      Distinct Population     CITATION & DATE
                                                    Segment. The            WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                    boundaries for this     A FINAL RULE].
                                                    DPS are as follows:
                                                    bounded to the south
                                                    by 36[deg] S. lat.,
                                                    to the west by
                                                    15[deg] E. long., and
                                                    to the north by
                                                    40[deg] N. lat. In
                                                    the east, the
                                                    boundary line extends
                                                    from175[deg] W. long.
                                                    due south to 10[deg]
                                                    N. lat., then due
                                                    east along 10[deg] N.
                                                    lat. to 140[deg] W.
                                                    long., then due south
                                                    to 4[deg] S. lat.,
                                                    then due east along
                                                    4[deg] S. lat. to
                                                    130[deg] W. long, and
                                                    then extends due
                                                    south along 130[deg]
                                                    W. long.
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Species includes taxonomic species, subspecies, distinct population segments (DPSs) (for a policy statement,
  see 61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996), and evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) (for a policy statement, see 56
  FR 58612, November 20, 1991).

* * * * *

PART 224--ENDANGERED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES

0
3. The authority citation for part 224 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531-1543 and 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.

0
4. Amend the table in Sec.  224.101 by adding an entry for Scalloped 
hammerhead shark--Eastern Atlantic DPS, and by adding an entry for 
Scalloped hammerhead shark--Eastern Pacific DPS at the end of the table 
in Sec.  224.101(a) to read as follows:


Sec.  224.101  Enumeration of endangered marine and anadromous species

* * * * *
    (a) * * *

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Species \1\                                               Citation(s) for    Citation(s) for
--------------------------------------------------      Where listed             listing        critical habitat
          Common name            Scientific name                            determination(s)     designation(s)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
Scalloped hammerhead shark--    Sphyrna lewini...  Eastern Atlantic        [INSERT FR          NA.
 Eastern Atlantic DPS.                              Distinct Population     CITATION & DATE
                                                    Segment. The            WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                    boundaries for this     A FINAL RULE].
                                                    DPS are as follows:
                                                    Bounded to the west
                                                    by 30[deg] W. long.,
                                                    to the north by
                                                    40[deg] N. lat., to
                                                    the south by 36[deg]
                                                    S. lat., and to the
                                                    east by 20[deg] E.
                                                    long., but includes
                                                    all waters of the
                                                    Mediterranean Sea.
Scalloped hammerhead shark--    Sphyrna lewini...  Eastern Pacific         [INSERT FR          NA.
 Eastern Pacific DPS.                               Distinct Population     CITATION & DATE
                                                    Segment. The            WHEN PUBLISHED AS
                                                    boundaries for this     A FINAL RULE].
                                                    DPS are as follows:
                                                    bounded to the north
                                                    by 40[deg] N lat. and
                                                    to the south by
                                                    36[deg] S lat. The
                                                    western boundary line
                                                    extends from140[deg]
                                                    W. long. due south to
                                                    10[deg] N., then due
                                                    west along 10[deg] N.
                                                    lat. to 140[deg] W.
                                                    long., then due south
                                                    to 4[deg] S. lat.,
                                                    then due east along
                                                    4[deg] S. lat. to
                                                    130[deg] W. long, and
                                                    then extends due
                                                    south along 130[deg]
                                                    W. long.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Species includes taxonomic species, subspecies, distinct population segments (DPSs) (for a policy statement,
  see 61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996), and evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) (for a policy statement, see 56
  FR 58612, November 20, 1991).

* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2013-07781 Filed 4-4-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P