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North Atlantic Shortfin Mako Shark Stock Status

Below is additional information on the status of the North Atlantic shortfin mako shark population.

Shortfin Mako Shark Management

NOAA Fisheries Service Highly Migratory Species Management Division manages shortfin mako sharks domestically, but the United States also works with Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, such as the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), worldwide to manage shortfin mako sharks.

Stock Assessment

The North Atlantic shortfin mako shark stock is assessed by ICCAT's Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS). The most recent SCRS assessment of the North Atlantic shortfin mako shark stock took place in 2012. According to the stock assessment, current levels of catch may be considered sustainable, as indications of potential overfishing shown in the previous stock assessment have diminished. These results indicate that the stock is healthy, because it is not overfished and the probability that overfishing is occurring is low.

Landings

Annual commercial landings of North Atlantic shortfin mako shark have averaged approximately 6,194 metric tons whole weight from 2004-2011. During that time period the United States contributed approximately 6.5 percent of those landings (see ICCAT landings table2010 SAFE Report Recreational Landings Table2010 SAFE Report Commercial Landings Table). 

Domestic Management Response

Amendment 3 to the HMS Fishery Management Plan was finalized in June 2010. It contains commercial and recreational management measures that address overfishing of the North Atlantic shortfin mako shark stock. NOAA Fisheries decided to continue to work on an international level to end overfishing of shortfin mako sharks. Also, NOAA Fisheries decided to promote the live release of shortfin mako sharks on a domestic level to help mitigate the effects of overfishing on the stock. Since then, the most recent SCRS stock assessment (2012) indicates that overfishing is no longer occurring on the stock.

What You Can Do to Keep the Stock Healthy

While there is no new legal requirement for shortfin mako sharks, NOAA Fisheries is asking for your help in keeping the population healthy. You can do this by releasing shortfin mako sharks that are caught alive and in good condition. Especially important is releasing sharks that are sexually immature and haven't had the chance to reproduce and contribute to the population. Just because a shark is of legal size does not mean that it is sexually mature. Please visit the What's Legal page for more information.