Shortfin Mako Shark

(Isurus oxyrinchus)

Mako, Makoo

1. What is it?

Shortfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus) are slow growing, late maturing fish making them vulnerable to fishing pressure. In the Atlantic Ocean, the stock status for shortfin mako shark is uncertain, however, there are indications that it is overfished. In the Indian Ocean, shortfin mako sharks are considered overfished and undergoing overfishing. Shortfin mako sharks are listed as Endangered on the IUCN’s Red List for Threatened Species.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Shortfin mako sharks are caught as bycatch in the South African pelagic longline fishery. Pelagic longlines consists of a double-line system suspended at different depths covered in baited hooks and which are several kilometers long. Bycatch is a significant issue in the fishery. Specifically, bycatch of seabirds, fish, sharks, and turtles are a major challenge within the fishery as many of these species are considered endangered, threatened, or protected (ETP) species. Catches of sharks by the fishery in recent years have increased substantially, with sharks making up more than 49% of the catch in 2017.

3.Where is it from?

Shortfin mako sharks are caught by South Africa in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean. Tuna and tuna-like species and recently sharks are managed by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs). The Atlantic Ocean component is managed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and the Indian Ocean Component is managed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC). Member countries or co-operating non-member countries are then responsible for ensuring the implementation and adaptation of the recommended quotas and regulations. Management by South Africa is considered largely effective as several steps have been taken to address the concerns around bycatch.