Species name: shortfin mako
Nominated by: The Shark Trust
IUCN Red List classification: Vulnerable; Critically Endangered – Mediterranean
What is so special about your species?
Sleek and fast, the shortfin mako is capable of reaching speeds of over 30mph, making it the fastest shark in the world. On top of this, it has the power to leap clean out of the water, reaching heights of 9m. Its high-spec finish of brilliant metallic blue on top and clean, crisp white underneath would impress any car designer. The shortfin mako really is the supercar of the shark world. Despite these impressive features, this species is highly vulnerable. Reaching lengths of nearly 4m, this large pelagic shark matures late (18 years), is long lived (32 years) and produces just 4 – 25 pups after a lengthy pregnancy with a 2 – 3 year cycle.
What are the threats to this species in the wild?
Retained for their meat and fins, the shortfin mako is a valued bycatch species that has been subjected to decades of unregulated fishing. Extensive fishing coupled with their low reproductive rate has led to the severe depletion of the North Atlantic population which is now close to collapse. Even a prohibition on retention would leave just a 54% chance of population recovery by 2040.
It is a pivotal time for the shortfin mako. With the EU taking the lion’s share of this fishery, it is essential to implement the necessary measures to secure the future of this vulnerable species.
What can people do to help your species?
The Shark Trust’s No Limits? campaign to stop uncontrolled shark fishing, turned its attention to the shortfin mako in 2017 by launching the Mako’ver to highlight the vulnerability of this species. To date, over 168,000 signatures of support have been collected through petitions and these have been presented to the EU Commission. As part of the Shark League coalition, the Shark Trust works with Shark Advocates International, Project Aware and Ecology Action Centre to advocate for the implementation of catch limits, including measures to stop overfishing of shortfin mako in the Atlantic. With Atlantic fishing nations now required to release live caught shortfin mako in the North Atlantic, there is a real chance to safeguard the future of this spectacular species.
Join us by causing a stir on social media and use #MakeTimeForMakos #NoLimits #NoLimitsNoFuture #Makover to bring light to the plight of this speedy shark. Keep your eyes peeled for campaign updates arising in 2018!