Soupfin Shark

(Galeorhinus galeus)

Soupfin

1. What is it?

Soupfin sharks (Galeorhinus galeus) are slow growing, long living, late maturing fish. They are listed on the IUCN’s Red List for threatened species as Vulnerable and stocks in South Africa are showing signs of being overfished.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Linefishing

Soupfin sharks are often targeted by line fishers when catches of other target species are low. The linefishery operates from small ski- and deck boats using a rod and reel or handline which also makes them a popular target for recreational line fishers. Linefishing is a relatively selective fishing method with few impacts on the marine environment and little accidental bycatch.

Demersal shark longline

Soupfin sharks are caught in shark demersal longline line which consists of a bottom set double-line system. There is limited information available of the current ecosystem impacts of the fishing, such as discards, bycatch and impact on endangered, threatened or vulnerable (ETP) species due to the lack of an effective observer programme. Historically, there has been concern regarding the impact of the fishery on vulnerable seabirds and sharks. Inshore demersal trawl

Soupfin sharks are caught as bycatch using trawl nets that are dragged along the seabed at depths up to the 110 m isobath or 20 nautical miles from the coast. This type of trawling is known to damage the seabed; however the extent and impact of damage remains unknown. Trawling is not a very selective fishing method and a number of other species are often caught in the nets (fish, sharks and rays). Substantial effort has been made to reduce seabird deaths through the use of tori lines (bird-scaring lines) and work is underway to better understand impacts on endangered, threatened or protected species.

3. Where is it from?

Linefishing

Soupfin sharks are widely distributed from the Eastern Cape to Northern Namibia. Management for the sector is considered partly effective. In South Africa this sector is principally managed through a total allowable effort (TAE) limitation and there are additional restrictions to protect overfished species such as bag limit (1pp/pd) for recreational fishers. There is some concern over the impact of the small-scale fishery rights allocation beyond the recommended TAE and the continuously growing recreational sector.

Demersal shark longline

Soupfin sharks are found from the Eastern Cape to Northern Namibia but are mainly caught along the South Coast. Management for the sector is considered partly effective. This sector is principally managed through a total allowable effort (TAE) limitation as well as area and bycatch limitations.

Inshore demersal trawl

Soupfin sharks are caught mainly on the Agulhas Bank off the South Coast. Management measures are considered to be largely effective and mainly focused on the target species (hake and sole) in the form of Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and permit limitations. Additional measures in place include precautionary catch limits and fishing only in historical fishing grounds. More effort is required to improve at-sea scientific observation of fishing activities to better understand ecosystem impacts.