Dear Minister Ribera:
We write to register our concern about the status of mako sharks and to request information on how Spain is implementing its associated commitments under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Specifically, we are interested in obtaining copies of the national non-detriment findings (NDFs) being used to justify continued high seas fishing of these sharks by Spanish vessels.
We are particularly troubled by the depletion of shortfin makos (Isurus oxyrinchus) in the North Atlantic. As you know, despite longstanding scientific advice for a regional retention ban, no tonnage landing limits have been established by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) or the European Commission.
In recent months, the Spanish media have reported that your Ministry approved a mako trade quota of 350t, and that Spanish vessels landed at least 360t of makos in the first quarter of 2020.
Along with the NDFs, we would appreciate learning more about the validity of these reports and any consequences associated with quota overages.
We are also interested in steps your government is taking to track fishing of similarly under-protected longfin mako sharks (Isurus paucus) and differentiate associated landings from those of shortfin makos.
Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to receiving your reply and the mako NDFs.