April 1st saw the Prohibited Species status of Shortfin Mako come into force for UK vessels fishing in the North and South Atlantic. This listing is in response to the stark scientific advice which underpinned the 2019 listing of mako on CITES Appendix II and the subsequent management through ICCAT, both actions informing the opinion reached by the UK Scientific Authority: that mako fishing in the Atlantic is not sustainable. The listing of Shortfin Mako as a Prohibited Species is a positive step, reflecting the UK’s commitment to rebuilding this population.

Spurdog were also addressed in the same regulatory round.  Overfished for decades, Spurdog populations crashed requiring strict management measures to allow populations to recover.  Closely managed for the past 10 years – most recently as a Prohibited Species - updated scientific advice presented in 2022 proposed the reopening of the fishery in 2023, indicating permissible catches of ~17,000t. Whilst the Trust is keen to acknowledge the tentative signs of population rebuilding, we have been actively urging the UK Government to approach the Spurdog fisheries with care, taking precautionary steps to avoid a boom-bust scenario. A maximum size has been adopted to prohibit retention of Spurdog over 100cm long, but we are disappointed this Endangered species is now subject to a target fishery. The Trust will continue to advocate for bycatch only, and close monitoring of catch to ensure total mortality is reported.

For more on updates to Shark & Ray management visit: Fisheries Advisories.

Banner Image: Fred Buyle