Good Fish Guide
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 Critically Endangered in the Northeast Atlantic by the IUCN. 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 Critically Endangered in Northeast Atlantic by the IUCN - the World Conservation Union. The porbeagle shark is 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. ICES advises that no fishing for porbeagle should be permitted, landings should not be allowed, and a rebuilding plan needs to be developed. This advice is valid for 2016 to 2019.
There is no specific management plan for demersal elasmobranchs. Porbeagle is a zero TAC species in EU waters, meaning it cannot be landed and should be promptly released if caught. Also prohibited to EU vessels fishing in international waters. EC Regulation No. 1185/2003 prevents the removal of fins at sea and the subsequent discard or dumping of the often alive body. It is prohibited to target, retain, tranship or land them.
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 is critically endangered and prohibited to target, retain, tranship or land porbeagle sharks. It is caught as bycatch in mainly gillnet or pelagic trawl fisheries. An unquantified amount of discarding now takes place in mixed demersal trawl and gillnet fisheries operating in EU waters.
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.
ICES Advice 2015, Book 9 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2015/2015/por-nea.pdf;
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
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