The distinctive hammer-shaped head may provide improved maneuverability and increased sensory capacity for the scalloped hammerhead shark. A seasonally migratory species, the scalloped hammerhead is often found in schools.
The fins are extremely valuable for use in shark fin soup and the scalloped hammerhead is taken both as a target species and as bycatch with pelagic longlines, fixed bottom longlines, nets and pelagic trawls. The meat, skin and oil are also utilized. The scalloped hammerhead has declined by more than 75 percent in the past 15 years along the eastern U.S. and is listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.
The decline of the scalloped hammerhead, and other great sharks in the Atlantic, has led to an increase in the cownose ray population which resulted in a collapse of the century-old North Carolina bay scallop industry. Oceana’s Predators as Prey report details this cascading effect and other important impacts the loss of sharks will have on the marine ecosystem.