Sharks are vulnerable to exploitation because they are slow growing, long lived, and have low reproductive capacity. These factors and the high commercial value of mature and immature porbeagle (in target and incidental fisheries) makes this species highly vulnerable to over-exploitation and population depletion. Porbeagle is assessed as Vulnerable (2005) globally and as Critically Endangered in the Northeast Atlantic by IUCN - the World Conservation Union. It is also listed by OSPAR as a threatened and/or declining species. Stock is assessed by ICES as depleted. Avoid eating.
Porbeagle is part of a group of sharks known collectively as mackerel sharks, belonging to the family Lamnidae. Porbeagles are found in the surface layers of the open ocean, and they also occur in coastal waters. They are a highly migratory and schooling species. Porbeagles live for between 30 and 40 years. Maturity for a male is gained at about 7 years and for a female at 12-14 years. They can grow to a length of 350cm. In the North Atlantic mating occurs in autumn and winter and the females give birth during spring and summer after an 8-9 month gestation period.
Porbeagle is a highly migratory and schooling species. The Northeast Atlantic stock extends from Iceland and the Barents Sea to Northwest Africa. The north Atlantic population of porbeagle was seriously over-exploited by directed long-line fisheries up until the 1970s, when they became unprofitable. Since then there have been sporadic targeted fisheries for porbeagle, and they are also taken as bycatch, and have a high commercial value. An FAO Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks provides guidance for countries wishing to set up shark fishery management programmes. Porbeagle is assessed as globally Vulnerable (2005) and as Critically Endangered in Northeast Atlantic by IUCN - the World Conservation Union. Also listed on the OSPAR list of threatened and/or declining species and habitats, based on evidence of decline and threats throughout the OSPAR maritime area. EC Regulation No. 1185/2003 prevents the removal of fins at sea and the subsequent discard or dumping of the often alive body. ICES advice for this species in 2012 for 2013 and 2014 is that no fishing for porbeagle should be permitted. Landings should not be allowed. And a rebuilding plan should be developed for the stock which is assessed as depleted.
There is no specific management plan for demersal elasmobranchs. Given the regional differences in skate assemblages and fisheries, ICES recommends that management measures for elasmobranchs be devloped on a case-by-case basis. Currently these species are managed under a common Total Allowable Catch (TAC). There are also prohibitions on fishing for, retaining and landing some species, including the most severely depleted species taken as bycatch in mixed demersal fisheries. ICES does not advise that general or species specific TACs be established at present because they are not the most effective means to regulate these bycatch species. TACs alone may not adequately protect these species as there are differences amongst species in their vulnerabilities to exploitation and a restrictive TAC may lead to discarding. Instead seasonal and/or area closures, effort restrictions and measures to protect spawning grounds for example are recommended.
Once one of the most valuable elasmobranch species to commercial fisheries there are now no target fisheries for Porbeagle in EU waters, or by EU fleet. It may be taken as bycatch in longline fisheries for other species, such as tuna, and also in trawl, handline and gillnet fisheries. An unquantified amount of discarding now takes place in mixed demersal trawl and gillnet fisheries operating in EU waters. Longlining is a fishing method that has a possible bycatch of other non-target species, such as sea turtles, seabirds and other fish and elasmobranch species.
Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below . Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.
Shark Trust;2010. An illustrated Compendium of Sharks, Skates, Rays and Chimaera. Chapter 1: The British Isles and Northeast Atlantic. Part 2: Sharks www.sharktrust.org ; ICES Advice 2013, Book 9.
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