Historical records reveal potential extirpation of four hammerhead sharks in Mexican Pacific waters

paper8Published online on 23. April 2014

Historical records reveal potential extirpation of four hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna spp.) in Mexican Pacific waters

Juan Carlos Pérez-Jiménez


Populations of hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna and Eusphyra) have declined in many regions of the world. Six of the eight hammerheads known to date are distributed in the Mexican Pacific: S. corona, S. lewini, S. media, S. mokarran, S. tiburo and S. zygaena. These species, with exception of S. corona, were abundant in the Gulf of California in 1960s. I analyze records from fishery-dependent and fishery-independent surveys, and records from ichthyological collections to determine the presence and frequency of hammerheads in the Mexican Pacific. The most frequent hammerheads in fishery-dependent and fishery-independent surveys were S. lewini and S. zygaena. It appears that S. media, S. mokarran and S. tiburo might have been extirpated from the Gulf of California. In the last two decades, records of S. mokarran (n = 61) were restricted to Central and Southern Mexican Pacific, and records of S. tiburo (n = 3) and S. media (n = 3) were restricted to the Southern region. Given the continued fishing pressure, inferred declines and the probable extirpation of populations, S. tiburo and S. media should be reassessed for the IUCN red list as Endangered or Critically Endangered. Sphyrna corona should be reassessed as Endangered or Critically Endangered, because it is endemic to the Eastern Pacific and recent records have been obtained only from Colombian waters. The Endangered status of S. mokarran is confirmed for this region.

Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, April 2014, DOI 10.1007/s11160-014-9353-y



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