Shortfin Mako Shark
1. What is it?
Shortfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus) are slow growing, late maturing fish found in either inshore (reproductively active adults) or offshore (juveniles and sub-adults) zones. Current stock levels are unknown although there are trends that suggest the stock may be overfished. Shortfin mako sharks are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN’s list of threatened species.
2. How was it caught or farmed?
Shortfin mako sharks 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 seabirds, fish, sharks and turtles, many of which are listed as vulnerable and the fishing pressure 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 swordfish sector.
3. Where is it from?
Shortfin mako 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.