Blue Shark

(Prionace glauca)

Species is currently under revision for pelagic longline

1. What is it?

Blue shark (Prionace glauca) is an abundant, widespread and fast-growing shark species found in temperate and tropical seas. It is less vulnerable to fishing pressure than other shark species; however, it is frequently targeted for its fins at a rate that may be unsustainable in the future. Blue sharks are listed as Near Threatened on IUCN’s list for threatened species.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Blue sharks are mainly caught as bycatch in the South African pelagic longline fishery for tuna and swordfish. Pelagic longlines consists of a double – line system suspended at different depths covered in baited hooks and which are several kilometers long. Bycatches are a significant issue in the fishery. There are bycatches of birds, fish, sharks and turtles, many of which are listed as vulnerable may affect their population rates significantly. While recent reports showed that observed bycatch and discard rates in the tuna sector is low, little is known regarding bycatch and discard rates in the sword-fish sector.

3. Where is it from?

Blue sharks are found all along the coast of southern Africa particularly in the Atlantic Ocean. Management in this fishery is considered only partly effective largely due to insufficient monitoring of impacts to threatened species and a comprehensive plan to manage these impacts. In particular, the sector still permits directed shark fishing through various permit exemptions although intentions have been made to phase this out.