We have heard all the great things about thee shortfin Mako shark. It is described as a striking blue shark that has amazing athleticism. But it also has a rather dubious honor too, and that is the fact that it has delicious meat. Other species of sharks are shunned for being unappealing and tough, but the Mako is not. Thus, this poor animal keeps showing up on menus at restaurants.
“A lot of sport fishermen will keep Mako sharks, but none of them keep a blue shark because blue shark meat is pretty gross,” said Michael Byrne, who is a wildlife ecologist from the University of Missouri at Columbia. “It tastes like eating piss.” So that’s what piss tastes like?
Attractive Qualities of the Mako Shark
And that is not all. Sportsmen also love Mako sharks because they put up an amazing fight when they are being caught – which is something that fishermen value. But this shortfin Mako (Isurus Oxyrinchus) is an amazing creature and have the honor of being the fastest shark species in entire planet. They can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. And when they are caught, these animals make dramatic leaps that are beyond photographic. “They kind of jump straight up and twirl around,” Byrne claims. “There’s been cases of people hooking them near the boat and then they jump and land in the boat.”
When you consider all these qualities, then it is understandable why these sharks are sought after and very highly regarded. The only problem is that the popularity of this poor Mako shark is actually hurting its chances of survival, Byrne has discovered. He and his associates have used satellites to monitor and track tagged sharks and learned that they are being caught and dying at 10 times higher rates that was previously reported. This more than suggests that these wonderful creatures are victims of overfishing, this team recently reported.
There are several shark researchers who are also collecting evidence that these Makos are being fished at levels that are unsustainable in the North Atlantic. In addition to this, these fast, but slow growing Mako sharks are turning out to be more vulnerable than ever to overfishing. Needless to say, the time has come to take some kind of action to save the Mako shark.
“We definitely need to be concerned, and need to definitely start thinking about putting catch limits on the species which haven’t existed in this part of the world before,” Byrne claims.
A perfect storm?
As we are learning this poor Mako shark has some things that are working against its plight. We see these Mako sharks all over the world in a variety of waters. But when they are in the water of the North Atlantic, they find themselves in the very wrong place at the wrong time. The thing is that commercial fishermen are not targeting the Mako shark, but they are targeting the shark’s most favorite meal which is tuna, so they get caught accidentally. “They like the same water, they like the same food, and the fishermen are not trying to catch them, but they’re there,” claims Steven Campana, who is a marine biologist from the University of Iceland.
But this is not all. As luck would have it, these Mako sharks are also very slow to reproduce. This fact along with the others we have already mentioned are putting the survival of this wonderful animal in danger.