Blue Shark

(Prionace glauca)

1. What is it?

Blue sharks (Prionace glauca) are 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. In the Atlantic Ocean, the stock status for blue sharks is uncertain however there are indications that it is overfished. In the Indian Ocean, blue sharks are optimally fished, however, there are concerns that fishing pressure is too high to maintain at sustainable levels. Blue sharks are listed as Near Threatened on IUCN’s Red List for Threatened Species.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Blue 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?

Blue 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.