Advocates welcome halt to shortfin mako shark fishing, call for longer ban

Advocates welcome halt to shortfin mako shark fishing, call for longer ban

More than 50 countries have agreed to protect shortfin mako sharks, an endangered species that has been teetering on the brink of extinction due to fishing overexploitation. The decision has been welcomed by conservationists and scientists who have worked for years to enact a fishing ban on the species, Isurus oxyrinchus, although they say the victory may only be temporary. The agreement, led by Canada, the U.K., Senegal and Gabon, was made this week at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), a coalition of 52 fishing nations that focuses on the management of tunas and tuna-like species. By the meeting’s end, countries had agreed “to end overfishing immediately and to gradually achieve biomass levels sufficient to support maximum sustainable yield (MSY) by 2070,” according to a press release. A full retention ban on shortfin mako sharks in the North Atlantic — meaning fishers will not be allowed to land the sharks, even those caught accidentally — will take effect in 2022 and extend into 2023. After that, fishing nations in the North Atlantic will only be able to land a combined 250 metric tons of shortfin mako sharks each year. In comparison, the European Union alone landed 1,261 metric tons in 2020, according to data compiled by the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS), the ICCAT’s scientific advisory body. Shortfin mako sharks are one of the fastest creatures in the ocean, with reported speeds of up to 74 kilometers per hour…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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