The scalloped hammerhead shark, Sphyrna lewini, is a Critically Endangered species on the IUCN Red List, with its dire condition stemming from overfishing to supply global shark fin markets and high sensitivity to mortality when captured on fishing gear. This species occurs worldwide in warm oceans, including in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean, which includes the World Heritage sites of the Galápagos Islands (Ecuador), Cocos Island (Costa Rica) and Coiba National Park (Panama).
The status of scalloped hammerheads in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) is of particular concern since this region is a major source of its fins to the international fin trade. In fact, the scalloped hammerhead in the eastern Pacific is also listed as “Endangered” under the United States Endangered Species Act.
There is an urgent need for scientific data and a better understanding of the population dynamics of the scalloped hammerhead in the Galápagos and broader ETP region to guide conservation management. To this end, Sydney Harned, a researcher at the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Research Center and Guy Harvey Research Institute, and graduate student at Nova Southeastern University, is conducting a detailed genetics study of the scalloped hammerhead throughout its eastern Pacific range.
Sydney explains her research in the video.