The Shark Specialist Group (SSG) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has released updated Red List assessments for more than 50 species of sharks and rays. Of particular concern is the Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) whose global classification has changed from Vulnerable to Endangered. Shortfin mako sharks are particularly overfished in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. The SSG is recommending that mako landings be prohibited, which aligns with commitments made by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and scientific advice for the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Spain’s high seas fleets take more makos than another other country, but its catches outside the Mediterranean are unlimited and there are no international mako quotas. The Shark League is urging ICCAT Parties, including the EU, to ban mako landings, and GFCM Parties to implement the Mediterranean mako ban at the national level.
The new Red List Assessments for Australian and oceanic sharks can be found at www.iucnredlist.org
Species classified as Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List are considered threatened with extinction. The Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) and the Longfin Mako (Isurus paucus) have moved from Vulnerable to Endangered classifications, signalling a higher risk of extinction. This change, however, is considered “non-genuine” in IUCN terminology, meaning that it is based on new information not available during the previous assessment.