1. What is it?
Soupfin (Galeorhinus galeus) are slow-growing, long-living, late-maturing fish caught in the demersal shark longline fishery, recreational linefishery, commercial linefishery, beach seine and gillnet fishery and the inshore trawl. They were recently listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List for threatened species and stocks in South Africa are showing signs of being overfished. Comprehensive stock assessment conducted in 2019 based on catch data from commercial linefishery and two other fisheries (demersal longline and inshore trawl), indicated that the stock has collapsed.
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 limited observer coverage. However, available data suggests the fishery does interact and impact population of ETP species of 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.