Shortfin Makos Need Official Protection from Fishing

Shortfin Mako Shark - photo by Andy Murch - a Wikimedia Commons photoThe Malta Environment and Planning Authority recently stated that because several sharks caught recently by fishermen were not the protected Great White Sharks they were thought to be they are legal catches. Unfortunately the sharks caught should really be protected due to their IUCN classification. See the comment below from Sonja Fordham (Policy Director for the Shark Alliance) copied from the Malta Times article where I found this story:

Shortfin mako sharks are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Vulnerable to extinction on a global scale and Critically Endangered in the Mediterranean, yet there are no Maltese, EU or international limits on catch of this species. For more information on the role of Malta in shark conservation and how you can help, visit www.sharkalliance.org .

In this press release from the IUCN Makos are cited as “vulnerable” to extinction:

The global threat status was heightened for shortfin mako, a favorite shark among commercial and recreational fishermen, from Near Threatened in 2000 to Vulnerable today.    …

Of particular concern are the porbeagle and mako sharks in the Mediterranean,” warned Alen Soldo of the University of Split in Croatia, a pelagic shark expert who participated in the meeting. “Our studies reveal fishing pressure well beyond the reproductive capacity of the species and have led to Critically Endangered classifications for this region.”