Petition to list over 30 Elasmobranch species under the Endangered Species Act

Press Release

WildEarth Guardians


WildEarth Guardians Launches Major Campaign to Protect Marine Biodiversity

Campaign aims to stem extinction crisis in the world’s oceans.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today WildEarth Guardians submitted a formal petition to the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) seeking protection for 81 imperiled marine species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”).

The 81 petitioned species span the world’s oceans and range from tiny corals to the enormous basking shark.  By seeking protection for these 81 marine species, each of which is considered either “critically endangered” or “endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (“IUCN”), Guardians hopes to jumpstart the protection of our oceans.  Guardians’ petition asserts the IUCN’s determinations of these species’ extinction risk represents the best available science and the viewpoint of impartial and internationally respected scientists.

To date the US has largely failed to protect marine species under the ESA.  Of the 2,097 species protected under the Act, a mere 94 are marine species.  Guardians’ petition aims to begin righting this imbalance, which does not reflect the scientific reality of species at risk of extinction.  The Petition demonstrates that threats to marine species are no less dire or diverse than those jeopardizing terrestrial species.

“Our oceans and the species that call them home are facing unprecedented threats from fishing, ocean acidification, pollution from toxic runoff and dumping of waste at sea,” said Bethany Cotton, Wildlife Program Director at WildEarth Guardians.  “Our petition seeks legal protections for eighty one of the most imperiled marine species.”

Recognizing the decline of ocean health, on July 22, 2010 President Obama issued an Executive Order requiring agencies, including NMFS, to “protect, maintain, and restore the health and biological diversity of ocean…ecosystems,” and to “use the best available science and knowledge to inform decisions affecting the ocean.”  Guardians’ petition seeks to compel NMFS to live up to this mandate.

“The Obama Administration acknowledges our oceans’ health is rapidly declining, even issuing an executive order instructing all federal agencies to do all they can to protect the ocean.  Our petition is an effort to press NMFS to take concrete action in keeping with the President’s direction,” said Guardians’ General Counsel, Jay Tutchton.  “If NMFS won’t take action in situations as dire as those faced by these critically imperiled species, it signals the Agency doesn’t really want to do anything but talk about declining ocean health.”

Source: WildEarth Guardians

Note by Shark Year Magazine :

The 32 shark, skate and ray species and subpopulations ( of these 81 petitioned marine species ) are …..

Gray tail skate ( Bathyraja griseocauda )
Harrisson’s dogfish ( Centrophorus harrissoni )
Borneo shark ( Carcharhinus borneensis )
Pondicherry shark ( Carcharhinus hemiodon )
Sandtiger shark ( Carcharias taurus – Southwest Atlantic Subpopulation )
Basking shark ( Cetorhinus maximus – North Pacific Subpopulation )
Basking shark ( Cetorhinus maximus – Northeast Atlantic Subpopulation )
Daisy stingray ( Dasyatis margarita )
Ornate sleeper ray ( Electrolux addisoni )
Natal shyshark ( Haploblepharus kistnasamyi )
Whitespotted Izak ( Holohalaelurus punctatus )
Natal Izak (Holohalaelurus favus)
Whitefin topeshark ( Hemitriakis leucoperiptera )
Daggernose shark ( Isogomphodon oxyrhynchus )
Broadfin shark ( Lamiopsis temmincki )
Striped dogfish ( Mustelus fasciatus )
Narrownose smoothhound ( Mustelus schmitti )
Pita skate ( Okamejei pita )
Roughnose stingray ( Pastinachus solocirostris )
Undulate ray ( Raja undulata )
Blackchin guitarfish ( Rhinobatos cemiculus )
Common guitarfish ( Rhinobatos rhinobatos )
Brazilian guitarfish ( Rhinobatos horkelii )
Sawback angelshark ( Squatina aculeate )
Argentine angelshark ( Squatina argentina )
Taiwan angelshark ( Squatina formosa )
Hidden angelshark ( Squatina guggenheim )
Smoothback angelshark ( Squatina oculata )
Angular angelshark ( Squatina punctata )
Angel shark ( Squatina squatina )
Sharpfin houndshark (Triakis acutipinna)
Magpie fiddler ray ( Trygonorrhina melaleuca )

A copy ( PDF ) of the related petition is available HERE .




1 Comment

  1. Pam Naylor

    Shark need protected, the ocean’s health depends on these apex predators.

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