Green groups sue NOAA over protecting tope sharks

By Rob Hotakainen | 06/25/2024 04:13 PM EDT

A federal lawsuit filed in California on Tuesday accused the federal agency of missing a key deadline.

tope shark

NOAA Fisheries said it would study whether the tope shark warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act. Ross Robertson/Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Conservation groups sued NOAA on Tuesday, alleging the agency failed to miss a deadline to determine whether the tope shark should be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

“Tope sharks are vanishing very quickly, so they can’t wait until federal officials find it convenient to act — they need protections now,” said David Derrick, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.

The center, along with the Defend Them All Foundation, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Both NOAA Fisheries and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who oversees NOAA, were listed as defendants.


The groups said that NOAA first announced in 2022 that the tope shark, also known as the “soupfin shark,” could warrant protection under federal law. But they said the agency has yet to issue a decision, even though it was required to do so by February of 2023.