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NOAA: No Status Review Needed for Porbeagle Shark

July 12, 2010

NOAA’s Fisheries Service today said it would not initiate a status review of the porbeagle shark in response to two petitions to list the species as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. The finding published today in the Federal Register.

In January 2010, the Wild Earth Guardians and the Humane Society of the United States petitioned NOAA to list the porbeagle shark as an endangered species under the ESA. At that time, the agency began a 90-day review, but found that neither petition presented sufficient scientific information indicating that listing the species under the ESA may be warranted.

Also, NOAA found that the information in the petitions and in its files indicates that populations of porbeagle shark are stable or increasing globally, and that recreational and commercial fishing protections for the shark are increasing.

In March, NOAA’s Fisheries Service supported a proposal to add the porbeagle to Appendix II through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to monitor commercial trade of the species.  An Appendix II listing under CITES would require the collection of information on trade in these species, and allow trade that is legal and sustainable. 

NOAA Fisheries’ support during the recent CITES meeting for adding the species to CITES Appendix II and the new finding on the ESA petitions are not contradictory or inconsistent with each other.

“The criteria used to list a species for protection under the ESA are different from those used to add a species to CITES Appendix II,” said Jim Lecky, director for the NOAA Fisheries Service protected resources division. “Even though we do not believe there is enough information to consider a listing under the ESA right now, we supported adding porbeagle to  CITES Appendix II to help monitor commercial trade of this important species.”   

The porbeagle shark lives in temperate waters of the North Atlantic and southern oceans, reaching up to eight feet in length and 300 pounds.

NOAA’s Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us on Facebook.