Canada proposes international ban on retention of endangered mako sharks

Date: November 3, 2020


The Ecology Action Centre is calling on countries across the globe to follow Canada’s lead toward protecting mako shark populations before it’s too late

Earlier this year, the federal government announced it was banning the retention of endangered shortfin mako sharks in Atlantic fisheries to help the species recover. 

It is now urging international adoption of the policy at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) which oversees the conservation and management of a variety of Atlantic marine species.

Shannon Arnold is senior marine program coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre and says even if no more mako sharks were fished, it would take about 50 years for their population to recover. 

“What scientists are saying is ban retention, so you’re not allowed to keep them on the boat even if you catch them accidentally, you’re not allowed to land them,” she says. “It’s the best chance the shark has at recovering.”

According to Arnold, makos are a bycatch, but they also are still being fished intentionally. 

“There is a huge amount of bycatch from the Spanish fleet, they are the biggest catcher and Portuguese, and some from Morocco,” she says. “But you also have parts of those fleets who are going out there and targeting mako sharks because they are quite valuable for their meat and fins.”

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