9 Aug 2013

American Samoa rejects threat to shark species

6:12 pm on 9 August 2013

American Samoa has rejected a United States proposal to list the scallop hammerhead shark as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Following petitions by environment groups WildEarth Guardians and Friends of Animals, the US National Marine Fisheries Service sought public comments in American Samoa.

The groups say all scalloped hammerhead populations are threatened by commercial fishermen in coastal waters.

But Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga says American Samoa already has an existing regulation which bans the catching of any sharks.

Lolo says there's no evidence that the population of scalloped hammerhead sharks is in decline as in other regions, and the proposal is redundant.

He says fishing is central to the Samoan culture and fisheries decisions are not taken lightly.