CWitek

Mako closure

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The 2021 ICCAT meeting wrapped up this week.  Among other actions taken, ICCAT has adopted a retention ban on shortfin mako in the North Atlantic.

 

Scientists have been calling for the ban since 2017, when an updated stock assessment revealed that the stock was declining quickly, and that total fishing-related mortality would have to be dropped below 1,000 metric tons to halt the decline, and probably below 500 mt to have a realistic probablility of rebuilding the stock by 2070.

 

For four years, the United States and European Union have been the primary obstacles to adoption of the retention ban; this year, with new leadership at the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. dropped its opposition, and the European Union agreed to a compromise which included a formula which, depending on the data developed, could lead to the ban being revisited at the 2023 ICCAT meeting.  

 

Most shortfin mako fishing mortality was due to bycatch in the Spanish and Portugese swordfish longline fisheries, although the U.S. recreational shark fishery and, to a lesser extent, swordfish longline fishery also made significant contributions.  The U.S. is the fourth-largest contributor to mako mortality in the North Atlantic, behind Spain, Portugal and, if I remember correctly, Morocco.

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22 hours ago, MikeK said:

The goal is to rebuild by 2070?  Is that correct.  

Yes.  The new plan has a 70% chance of accomplishing that, with the caveat that there is a lot of uncertainty when you project out that far.

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17 hours ago, pakalolo said:

hmmm , ass load of pups last few years, hopefully that bodes well for the future on our side of the pond. 

I had a 27-inch fish on a trip when I had research folks on board.  They were thrilled to have it, because it was young enough to provide a baseline on contaminants in its system (they draw blood and take tissue samples prior to release; may do some satellite tagging next year).

 

The projection is that so many mature fish have been released from the population that it's going to continue to decline for a while, but as the young fish begin to mature, they will form the foundation for the recovery.  Makos take a very long time to mature.  50% of males are mature at 6 feet (fork length), but femalse don't even start to mature until around 7 feet FL, and we're probably not looking at 50% maturity until closer to 9.  That takes 15-20 years.

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19 hours ago, BrianBM said:

What US interests were opposed?  Organized commercial fisheries, organized recreational angling, or both?

I know that some of the recreational interests were very opposed.  There were some less than temperate editorials in the New Jersey editon of The Fisherman, and the US recreational ICCAT rep is connected to the New Jersey sportfishing community.  The previous administration was also generally hostile to shark conservation; the US was one of the few countries opposed to listing shortfin makos on Appendix II to CITES a couple of years ago.

 

Didn't hear of strong commercial oppositiobn, although there may have been some.  US anglers landed more makos than US longliners, although our swordfish fleet does take a few.

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On 11/28/2021 at 3:48 PM, MikeK said:

Jersey is also opposed to shark conservation???  Why am I not suprised.

Not all of Jersey--some of the folks down there voluntarily stopped mako kill tournaments a year or two ago because the fish were having problems.

 

But the usual suspects who oppose just about every conservation measure, regardless of species, and seem to dominate the press down there, yes, they're opposed to scientce-based mako conservation, too,.

 

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