Oceana today echoed management recommendations from scientists of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), who have called for caution in Atlantic fisheries for shortfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus). The ICCAT stock assessment report, released today, recommends that fishing for this species should not be permitted to increase until its status is more reliably known in the north and south Atlantic Ocean.
“The message from ICCAT scientists is clear,” stated Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana Europe. “Given the high uncertainty surrounding the current status of Atlantic shortfin mako, and the fact that its biology makes it very vulnerable to overfishing, fisheries should not place any further pressure on this species until the potential impacts can be assessed. It is now up to nations fishing in the Atlantic to follow the scientific advice.”
The shortfin mako is a large (up to 4 m), highly migratory shark which is considered Vulnerable in the Atlantic Ocean. Valued for its meat and fins, it is primarily threatened by overfishing. In 2010, countries within ICCAT reported catching nearly 6 500 000 kg of this species, roughly equivalent to 103 000 shortfin mako sharks.
Mediterranean countries within the Barcelona Convention, the majority of which are also members of ICCAT, have already granted the highest level of protection to this species in the Mediterranean Sea.
Oceana is calling for the adoption of management measures for shortfin mako sharks at the November ICCAT meeting in Agadir, Morocco.