Walker, T.I., Cavanagh, R.D., Stevens, J.D., Carlisle, A.B., Chiaramonte, G.E., Domingo, A., Ebert, D.A., Mancusi, C.M., Massa, A., McCord, M., Morey, G., Paul, L.J., Serena, F. & Vooren, C.M.
Musick, J.A., Walker, T.I., Cavanagh, R.D., Fowler, S.L., Stevens, J.D., Pollard, D. & Dudley, S. (Shark Red List Authority)
A widespread mainly coastal and bottom associated shark of temperate areas which has been fished in all parts of its distribution. In the 2000 IUCN Red List, Galeorhinus galeus
was listed as Vulnerable globally and Conservation Dependent in Australasia (Stevens 2000). This updated assessment retains the original Vulnerable global assessment (with updated criteria) and presents new regional assessments of this species as Critically Endangered in the Southwest Atlantic, Vulnerable in Australia and South Africa, Near Threatened in New Zealand and Least Concern in the Eastern North Pacific. Further research, monitoring and assessment of status is required for this species in the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean, Eastern Central Atlantic and Eastern South Pacific where it is currently considered Data Deficient. Australasia
The Australia and New Zealand assessments are based mainly on two pieces of evidence: (1) In southern Australia the current mature biomass has been estimated from age-based model outputs to be below 20% of the level before commercial target fishing began in the 1920s, and; (2) Very low biological productivity; maximum age is potentially 60 years, age at maturity in females exceeds 10 years. In New Zealand, the stock has been managed for 17 years, and landings have been stable for the past decade. However, commercial TACs introduced following some CPUE declines have been regularly exceeded. Fisheries for the species are managed by ITQs in both New Zealand and Australia that should allow stocks to begin to rebuild, but the sustainable catch level in New Zealand remains unknown. Southwest Atlantic
In the Southwest Atlantic the G. galeus
population is subject to intensive fishing throughout its distribution, drastic declines have occurred yet the population continues to be fished without restraint. The declines have been most marked in Brazil and Uruguay, where the CPUE has declined almost to zero. The species migrates seasonally between wintering grounds in south Brazil and Uruguay and summer grounds off Argentina where the pupping and nursery areas are situated and where intense and directed fishery of gravid females occurs. In Argentina, where the animals are generally smaller, the CPUE for the trawler fleet has declined by around 80% during the past decade and based on current trends will inevitably collapse within 5 to 10 years. Already considered Critically Endangered, without major and urgent management measures the situation for this species in the Southwest Atlantic is set to become even worse. South Africa
In South Africa Galeorhinus galeus
has been targeted to varying degrees since the 1930s and likely prior to that by indigenous coastal communities. As the principal target species of the directed South African shark fishery it is likely that the population has been affected. There is evidence of declines from commercial catch data and observations from shark longline fishermen. Also of concern is data from the Gansbaai longline fishery showing a high proportion of the catch to be immature females. Recent estimates based on a spawner biomass per recuit model (therefore must be considered with caution) suggest that biomass of the South Africa population is at 43% of pre-exploitation level (M. McCord 2005). It is possible that the South African population is currently being fully exploited and any increase in fishing pressure may result in a decline of biomass to below 40% of the unexploited level (McCord 2005). The lack of well-designed regulations governing the South African recreational and commercial shark fisheries and lack of bag limits/bycatch limits in other fisheries that take G. galeus
means that a hypothetically unlimited fishery exists for that species. Given the life-history characteristics of this species (long generation time, late age at maturity, first age of reproduction) and the knowledge of the state of the fisheries for these sharks elsewhere it is likely that the South African population of G. galeus
is highly susceptible to overfishing and the Vulnerable assessment is based on the fact that the current shark fishery is virtually unregulated, declines have apparently already taken place and are predicted for the future. Proposed policy for 2005 indicates that long-term rights for the shark fishery will be allocated and multi-species permits will be revoked and replaced with single-species permits. It is envisaged that demersal longline permits to target soupfin sharks will be restricted in number as will the number of traditional handline vessels permitted to catch traditional linefish (including sharks). This will alter the characteristics of the fishery and it is highly recommended that another stock assessment be completed within 3 to 5 years to evaluate the effect of these changes on the population. As for its range into Namibia and southern Angola; there is no fishery for this species, they may be occasionally caught in trawl fisheries but there is no further information at this time. Northeast Atlantic Galeorhinus galeus
is of limited importance in commercial fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic where it is typically a bycatch of mixed demersal and pelagic fisheries especially by French vessels fishing in the English Channel, Western Approaches and northern Bay of Biscay. In Europe, this species is important in recreational fisheries. Data is apparently limited, as landings are often included as "dogfishes and hounds". Nevertheless, England and France have species-specific landings data and there are also limited data from Denmark and Ireland in recent years. Tope also feature in catch statistics for Portugal and the Azores. Biological data for Northeast Atlantic stocks are limited. Due to lack of data to form the basis of an accurate assessment, the species is considered Data Deficient in the Northeast Atlantic at this time and further investigation into its status there is required. Mediterranean
Although there are no target fisheries for G. galeus
in the Mediterranean, declines are suspected to have occurred, and it is only rarely seen as bycatch. Overfishing, together with habitat degradation caused by intensive bottom trawling are considered the main factors that have produced the suspected decline of the Mediterranean stock. Due to lack of data to form the basis of an accurate assessment, the species is considered Data Deficient in the Mediterranean. Eastern North Pacific Galeorhinus galeus
was the mainstay of the shark fishery ?boom? between 1936 and 1944, when over 24 million pounds were landed. The fishery ended abruptly in 1946 with the development of synthetic vitamin A. Since 1977, the fishery has averaged between 150,000 and 250,000 pounds dressed weight landed annually. Since no studies on this species have taken place in over 50 years in this region, it is unknown whether stocks off California have attained the size of those exploited before the second world war. However while it appeared that the adult stock might have collapsed at that time, there would have been large stocks of juveniles to allow for a population recovery. Since the 1940s there has been no economic incentive to target it and these sharks are now mostly taken at low levels as a bycatch to other commercial species and by recreational anglers. Although there has been no stock assessment for several decades, the fishing mortality can be expected to be low, landings have been relatively stable and given the lack of a concentrated fishery at this time this species is listed as Least Concern for the eastern North Pacific. However, if fishing pressure increases it will be necessary to re-evaluate this assessment. Eastern Central Atlantic and Eastern Pacific (off Peru and Chile)
There is currently no information from the Eastern Central Atlantic off West Africa, nor in the Eastern Pacific off Peru and Chile. However, given the evidence of decline and low recovery capacity from other parts of its range, it is imperative that the status of this species is further investigated in these and other regions for which this species is considered Data Deficient, in order to establish appropriate conservation and management measures.