Reported average catch rates for shortfin makos vary from 0.3-3.4 sharks per 1,000 hooks (Stevens and Wayte 1999). Stevens (in press) used stratified catch rates in conjunction with fishing effort and average weights to estimate a catch of 4,100 t caught by high-seas longlining in the Pacific in 1994. Longline fleets take about 100-200 t from around New Zealand each year (Ministry of Fisheries Science Group 2006) and about 100 t were taken in Australian EEZ waters by Japanese tuna vessels each season (Stevens and Wayte 1999).
A coastal driftnet fishery for juvenile shortfin mako shark developed during the late 1970s in California; landings reached 242 t in 1982, fluctuated between 102-278 t from 1983-91 and declined to less than 100 t after 1991 (Holts et al. 1998). An experimental coastal longline fishery targeting makos took between 50 and 120 t annually durung1988-91 before the fishery was closed. Bycatch will continue to be an issue in the drift gillnet and longline fisheries until effective measures are developed which reduce the bycatch to close to zero (Crooke 2001). Although makos are not targeted in these fisheries, they are kept as the third most valuable species. The shortn mako shark was taken by the high seas shark and swordsh drift longline shery, which developed between 1991 and 1994 (Taylor and Holts 2001) outside the US 200-nm Exclusive Economic Zone prior to its closure in spring 2004. A small portion of the catch was landed in California with annual landings ranging from 9,523 to 128,116 pounds between 1991 and 1999.
The present status of the Shortn Mako shark in state and federal waters off California is not known but is of some concern (Taylor and Holts 2001). This is mainly because adult mako sharks do not frequent California’s coastal waters. A possible threat to the mako population off California and in the eastern Pacic would be the potential for over-development of sheries within the coastal nursery. Therefore, continued efforts to monitor the shortn mako shark juveniles are needed.
Makos have long been prized game fish along the East Coast of the US (Taylor and Holts 2001). In the mid-to late-1980s, estimates of the number of California angler trips for sharks grew ten-fold from 41,000 to 410,000 annually: the principal target being Shortfin Mako. After the increase during the 1980s, the sport fishery has stabilized at a relatively high level. Total annual landings (sport and commercial) peaked in 1987 at 464,308 pounds and again in 1994 at 394,792 pounds. In both cases, landings declined rapidly in the two years following the peaks. Currently, commercial passenger fishing vessels run fishing trips on a regular basis from nearly all ports in southern California.
In Chile, the only target fishery for Shortfin Mako is a spring-summer longline fishery off the northern coast (Acuña et al. 2002). In Ecuador, there is evidence that catches of shortfin makos have declined from a high of 2,000 t in 1994 to lows approaching 100 t in 2000 and 2001 (Herrera et al. in press).
Off California, early juvenile shortfin makos were targeted by a short-lived experimental drift longline fishery and are a welcome bycatch in the driftnet fishery for swordfish (Cailliet et al. 1993, Compagno 2001). Up to 475 t of Shortfin Makos were taken jointly by these fisheries in 1987, and although CPUE did not show a declining trend there, concerns over the heavy exploitation of immature fish prompted the closure of the experimental longline fishery in 1992 (O’Brien and Sunada 1994, Compagno 2001). Total bycatch of Shortfin Makos in the former high-seas driftnet fisheries in the North Pacific in the early 1990s was estimated at about 360 t/y (Bonfil 1994, Compagno 2001). This species is apparently very common in the tuna fisheries of Indonesia: unconfirmed reports indicate that landings of shortfin makos from Indonesian waters attained 5 200 t in 1995 and that the estimated potential is about 16 000 t/y (Priyono 1998, Compagno 2001).
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