Overfishing of Mako Sharks in Atlantic is Worse Than Thought

Source: Science Daily/e: Nova Southeastern University - August 8, 2017 in Featured, Science/Tech

Overfishing of Mako Sharks in Atlantic is Worse Than Thought
Photo: Patrick Doll/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

More bad news for sharks.

A new study using satellite tracking by researchers from Nova Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), the University of Rhode Island and other colleagues shows that the fishing mortality rate of the shortfin mako in the western North Atlantic is considerably higher than previously estimated from catches reported by fishermen. These data suggest that this major ocean apex predator is experiencing overfishing, raising serious concerns about whether the current levels of fishery catches in the North Atlantic are sustainable.

The new study has been published in the Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“Traditionally, the data obtained to determine the rate of fishing mortality, a key parameter used to help gauge the health of shark stocks, has depended largely on fishermen self-reporting any mako sharks they may have caught,” said Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D., senior author of the study and director of the NSU’s GHRI. “The challenge is that not all fishermen report the same way or some may underreport or even not report their mako shark captures at all, so the these catch data are known to be of questionable reliability.”

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