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December 12, 2019 1 min read

Michael E. Byrne, Enric Corte’s, Jeremy J. Vaudo, Guy C. McN. Harvey,

Mark Sampson, Bradley M. Wetherbee, and Mahmood Shivji

Overfishing is a primary cause of population declines for many shark species of conservation concern. However, means of obtaining information on fishery interactions and mortality, necessary for the development of successful conservation strategies, are often fisheries-dependent and of questionable quality for many species of commercially exploited pelagic sharks. Byrne et al. used satellite telemetry as a fisheries-independent tool to document fisheries interactions, and quantify fishing mortality of the highly migratory shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Forty satellite-tagged shortfin mako sharks tracked over 3 years entered the Exclusive Economic Zones of 19 countries and were harvested in fisheries of five countries, with 30% of tagged sharks harvested. The tagging-derived estimates of instantaneous fishing mortality rates were 10-fold higher than previous estimates from fisheries dependent data, suggesting data used in stock assessments may considerably underestimate fishing mortality. Additionally, the data suggests a state of overfishing. This information has direct application to evaluations of stock status and for effective management of populations, and thus satellite tagging studies have potential to provide more accurate estimates of fishing mortality and survival than traditional fisheries-dependent methodology.

The full paper can be accessed at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170807112842.htm

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