Fish of the Week – May 27, 2014 – Atlantic Shortfin Mako Shark

OVERVIEW – Atlantic Shortfin Mako Shark

Shortfin mako shark
Shortfin mako sharks are fast-moving and streamlined. They propel themselves through the water with short strokes of their thick, powerful tails. LAUNCH GALLERY

There are two species of mako shark: shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) and longfin mako (I. paucus). Shortfin mako is the more common of the two and is the commercially important species. In fact, U.S. fishermen are prohibited from harvesting longfin mako in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean due to their current depleted population levels.

Shortfin mako shark is the most popular species of shark to eat. They’re caught by several nations in subtropical and temperate waters around the world. In the United States, they’re mainly harvested incidentally in longline fisheries for swordfish and tuna in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Because of their high market value, shortfin mako sharks are usually the only sharks retained in the pelagic longline fisheries that incidentally catch sharks. Nevertheless, U.S. harvest of Atlantic shortfin mako shark is only around 5 percent of the overall harvest of this species in the North Atlantic, and management limits domestic harvests through annual quotas. Conservationists and foodies take note – a key federal law prohibits the practice of “shark finning,” where valuable shark fins are removed and the remainder of the shark is discarded at sea. In the U.S. Atlantic shark fisheries, sharks must be landed with their fins naturally attached to the rest of their body.

This article was re-posted from NOAA FishWatch – click here to view the full article on their site.

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