In 1989, Bonfil (1994) estimated that 5,932 shortfin makos were caught by Korean longliners in the (mainly equatorial) Atlantic and that 763 t of makos were landed in the Spanish swordfish fishery in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Mejuto (1985) noted that 304-366 t of mako shark was landed by longliners operating from northern Spain in 1983-84. More recently, Shortfin Mako sharks have comprised about 7% (~2,500 t) of the total catch of the large Spanish pelagic longline swordfish fleet in the Atlantic (Mejuto et al. 2005). Munoz-Chapuli et al. (1994) estimated that some 4,500 makos/year are landed from a longline fishery based at Algeciras, southern Spain (given an average weight of 20 kg this would represent about 90 t). The landings of shortfin makos as bycatch from the swordfish fishery of the Azorean fleet also showed a decrease (Castro et al. 1999). Shortfin mako landings reported to ICCAT from Portuguese surface longline fisheries in the North Atlantic averaged about 698 t during 1993–1996 and 340 t for the period 1997–2002. Off Namibia, the large pelagic fisheries caught an estimated 123 t in 2001, 399 t in 2002 and 393 t in 2003 by means of pelagic longline. The 2001 catch is an underestimate as many boats grouped different shark species as “sharks” (MFMR catch data). Domingo (2002) records high catches of Shortfin Makos by the Uruguayan fleet in the early-mid 1980s (to a maximum of 144 t in 1984), followed by much lower catches (10–20 t/annum) in the 1990s. This does not necessarily reflect stock abundance because changes in the distribution and depth of fishing operations and rising mean temperature of water masses in the area had also occurred.
It has been estimated that in the early 1990s, the Spanish longline fleet caught approximately 750 t/y of Shortfin Mako sharks in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea (Bonfil 1994, Compagno 2001). The Brazilian longlining fleet based in Santos landed between 13.3 and 138.3 t annually between 1971 and 1990 (Costa et al. 1996, Compagno 2001). Despite increasing fishing effort during this period, the CPUE of Shortfin Makos has remained relatively stable with an initial slight decreasing trend followed by a slight increasing trend (Compagno 2001).
No complete data are available for the northeast Atlantic, but the species is taken as a bycatch of the pelagic fishery. The area around the Strait of Gibraltar is considered a nursery area for Central Atlantic Shortfin Makos and most specimens caught are juveniles. This area is heavily fished by the swordfish longline fishery off the western coast of Africa and Iberian peninsula. There is also evidence that shortfin makos are becoming increasingly targeted in the western Mediterranean. EU vessels fishing for small pelagic species off the western coast of Africa are also known to take significant elasmobranch bycatch, including Shortfin Makos in unknown numbers.
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