published on 30 November 2018 in life
Shortfin Mako sharks at risk due to fishing
Shortfin Mako sharks, thus named due to the size of their pectoral fins, and cousins of great white sharks, are seriously threatened by intensive fishing, because they are unintentionally captured by fishermen, who often take then them ashore anyway, to sell their meat and fins. In fact, even though these sharks are considered as by-catches by boats fishing for tuna and swordfish, in many areas they make up most of the catch: in the Azores, for example, these sharks account for over 80% of the haul. In 2018, the number of sharks reported as captured between January and July was already double the recommended annual limit. European Union members, especially Portugal and Spain, are responsible for 65% of the killings. The meat of these sharks has a high commercial value and there is a flourishing market in continental Europe, in particular in Italy. The fins, on the contrary, are all exported. For this reason, the Shortfin Mako shark has been included as a vulnerable species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list (IUCN).
This species is also known as the Porbeagle shark and due to its small pectoral fins, able to reduce friction, it can reach a speed of 70 kilometres/hour, earning the title of the fastest shark in the world. It is a particularly vulnerable species because females reach sexual maturity at eighteen years of age, and therefore they are often caught before they have had a chance to mate. The EU must therefore place a ban on fishing of Shortfin Mako sharks with the obligation to release them if accidentally caught, otherwise the population is bound to rapidly decline towards extinction.