New NOAA measures to tackle mako overfishing

NOAA Fisheries has implemented final measures to protect the Atlantic shortfin mako shark from overfishing Photo: NOAA NOAA Fisheries has implemented final measures to protect the Atlantic shortfin mako shark from overfishing Photo: NOAA
Industry Database

NOAA Fisheries has implemented final measures to help end overfishing of the Atlantic shortfin mako shark whilst ensuring fishing opportunities for recreational and commercial fishermen.

From 3 March recreational fishermen with the appropriate authorisations must release all male shortfin makos measuring less than 71 inches. For females, that minimum size is 83 inches. Additionally, regardless of their location in the Atlantic, all federally permitted fishermen must use only circle hooks when fishing recreationally for sharks.

For commercial fishermen who meet permit, gear, and reporting requirements, the final measures authorise keeping only shortfin makos found dead at haulback.

“The United States’ fishery management process is designed to provide an optimum yield for our fishermen while preventing overfishing,” said Alan Risenhoover, director of NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Sustainable Fisheries. “This dynamic approach fosters the significant contribution fisheries make to our national and local economies and helps keep our coastal communities vibrant.”

Shortfin mako are known for their high-quality meat and are often caught by commercial fishermen targeting swordfish and tuna. They are also a common target for sport fishermen thanks to their ability to swim at speeds around 45 mph.

In 2017, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas declared the North Atlantic shortfin mako stock overfished. NOAA Fisheries responded in March 2018 with short-term emergency measures while more comprehensive measures could be researched, proposed, and made available for public comment.

The final long term measures, detailed in Amendment 11 to the Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan, replace those of the short term emergency rule.

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