Who’s Fishing?

sharks-caught-fishing-lineDid you know? One pelagic (offshore) longliner can deploy up to 200 longlines in one set, holding some 3000 hooks and stretching for 60 miles. In coastal waters, trawls and gill-nets catch sharks in substantial volume. Out in deeper water, pelagic – or midwater – trawls target pelagic fish such as herring and mackerel using nets that can be 160m deep and 240m wide. Large pelagic trawlers are capable of catching several hundred tons of fish in one haul – which often includes sharks.

whos-fishing-chartThe EU is a significant global shark fishing power – three of the world’s top twenty shark fishing nations are European: Spain, Portugal and France. Within the EU, in the ten years from 2003 – 2012, 97% of all reported shark landings from the Atlantic and Mediterranean were attributed to just five of the 28 member states:

  1. Spain


    EU ranking: 1st


    Global ranking*: 3rd


    Fleet size (2012): 10,000+ vessels

    Under 10m
    10-24m
    Over 24m
    Total
    6,638 2,625 852 10,115

    Catch statistics: A Snapshot

    Ocean breakdown** (2012)

    Atlantic
    Indian
    Med
    Pacific
    Total
    83015t 86.7% 4209t 4.4% 292t 0.3% 8234t 8.6% 95750t 100%

    Top five species** (2012)

    Blue Shark
    Shortfin Mako
    89020t 4858t
    Smallspotted Catshark
    Catsharks, etc. nei
    391t 271t
    Catsharks, nursehounds nei
    582t

    Comprises 99% of total 2012 reported shark catch of 95750t


    Uses:

    Fins taken for fin trade, human consumption, bait in whelk and crab fisheries, fishmeal


    Domestic legislation:

    Beyond management and protection provided by the EU Common Fisheries Policy, Spain has enacted legislation to manage and protect a range of shark, skate and ray species.  The capture, injury, and trade in all species of thresher and hammerhead sharks, and Giant Devil Rays is prohibited, as are Mediterranean stocks of the Sandtiger Shark, Smalltooth Sandtiger Shark, White Skate, Spiny Butterfly Ray, Sawfishes (Pristis pristis and P. pectinata), Angular Roughshark, Angelshark, Sawback Angelshark and Smoothback Angelshark.

  2. France


    EU ranking: 2nd


    Global ranking*: 12th


    Fleet size (2012): 7,000+ vessels

    Under 10m
    10-24m
    Over 24m
    Total
    5,196 1,752 195 7,143

    Catch statistics: A Snapshot

    Ocean breakdown** (2012)

    Atlantic
    Indian
    Med
    Total
    8609t 99.7% 1t neg 26t 0.3% 8636t 100%

    Top five species** 2012

    Small-Spotted Catshark
    Smooth-hounds nei
    4879t 2704t
    Catsharks, nursehounds nei
    Tope shark
    277t 271t
    Nursehound
    213t

    Comprises 97% of total 2012 reported shark catch of 8636t


    Uses:

    Human consumption, fins and liver, bait in whelk and crab fisheries, fishmeal


    Domestic regulation:

    Beyond EU and international commitments, there is no national legislation for the protection or management of sharks, skates and ray species in France.

  3. Portugal


    EU ranking: 3rd


    Global ranking* 14th


    Fleet size (2012): 8,000+ vessels

    Under 10m
    10-24m
    Over 24m
    Total
    7,172 891 206 8,269

    Catch statistics: A Snapshot

    Ocean breakdown** (2012)

    Atlantic
    Indian
    Med
    Total
    11752t 92.4% N/A N/A 255t 2.0% 12711t 100%

    Top five species** (2012)

    Blue Shark
    Shortfin Mako
    9647t 1563t
    Lowfin Gulper Shark
    Nursehound
    655t 343t
    Dogfishes and hounds nei
    236t

    Comprises 98% of total 2012 reported shark catch of 12711t. NB: landings of Lowfin Gulper are currently prohibited under a zero TAC


    Uses:

    Fins taken for fin trade, human consumption, also used for pot-bait and fishmeal.


    Domestic legislation:

    Beyond EU and international commitments, there is no national legislation for the protection or management of sharks, skates and ray species in Portugal.

  4. UK


    EU ranking: 4th


    Global ranking*: 21st


    Fleet size (2012): 6,000+ vessels

    Under 10m
    10-24m
    Over 24m
    Total
    5,032 1,131 243 6,406

    Catch statistics: A Snapshot

    Ocean breakdown** (2012)

    Atlantic
    Indian
    Med
    Pacific
    Total
    1177t 75.2% 389t 24.8 NA NA NA NA 1566t 100%

    Top five species*** (2012)

    Smallspotted Catshark
    Blue Shark
    414t 334t
    Smoothhound
    Dogfish sharks nei
    315t 178t
    Dogfishes and hounds nei
    113t

    Comprises 87% of total 2012 reported shark catch of 1566t


    Uses:

    Meat for human consumption, liver for oil, fins


    Domestic regulation:

    Beyond EU and international commitments, each one of the four countries within UK has shark conservation measures in place.  In England and Wales, Basking Sharks, Angelsharks, and White Skate are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act; Tope are managed under the Tope (Prohibition of Fishing) Order, which limits commercial vessels to retaining no more than 45kg per day.  Sharks, skates and rays are managed in Scottish waters under the Scottish Elasmobranch Order, which restricts the landing of twenty-two species.  Northern Ireland protection for Basking Sharks and Angelsharks only.

  5. Ireland


    EU ranking:5th


    Global ranking*: 41st


    Fleet size (2012): 2,000+ vessels

    Under 10m
    10-24m
    Over 24m
    Total
    1,680 455 114 2,249

    Catch statistics: A Snapshot

    Ocean breakdown (2012)

    Atlantic
    Indian
    Med
    Pacific
    Total
    319t 100% NA NA NA NA NA NA 319t 100%

    Top five species** (2012)

    Smallspotted Catshark
    Dogfish sharks nei
    254t 54t
    Nursehound
    Blue shark
    8t 3t

    Comprises 100% of total 2012 reported shark catch of 319t

    Uses:


    Human consumption, liver for oil, fins, bait in whelk and crab fisheries, fishmeal


    Domestic regulation:

    Beyond EU and international commitments, there is no national legislation for the protection or management of shark, skates and ray species in Ireland.

     

    *FAO FishStat – all chondrichthyans 2002-2011

    **reported landings www.sharktrust.org/id

Why Are Limits Needed?

No Limits?

No Future!

In 2012 over 280,000t* of
sharks were reported landed
globally. The actual total
catch is likely to be 3 to 4
times higher
. EU vessels are
responsible for just over
40% of the reported
landings.

*roughly equivalent to 21,000 double decker buses.

Reported EU Landings

Atlantic & Med | To the nearest 100 Tonnes
Rollover sharks for numbers | 2000 - 2012

* conservative estimate of number of individual sharks based on reported landings

Over 97%

Of sharks caught and landed from the
Atlantic and Med are No Limits? species (2012)
(>6,400,000 sharks - conservative estimate based on reported landings)

92% Blue Shark

Percentage of reported Blue Shark landings from the Atlantic attributed to the EU fleet (2012)

(> 89% attributed to Spain)

A typical pelagic longliner sets:
3000 hooks, on 200 longlines, up to 60 miles long

Longline Fishing Boats

The largest EU shark fisheries are fished by pelagic longliners targeting tuna and swordfish.

Over
88%

of longline catches can be sharks.
In coastal waters trawlers and gillnets
also catch sharks in substantial
numbers

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Sign the petition and support the Shark Trust's call for an end to uncontrolled shark fishing. No Limits? No Future.

SIGN PETITION
15%
57%
15%
8%
2%
0.5%
1%
0.5%
15% 57% 15% 8% 2% 1% 1% 1%

Atlantic
Shark Landings

121,370
124,140
98,894
97,751
96,776
86,932
91,998
97,073
99,876
105,858
123,576
138,739
139,736
84,709
88,149
67,871
66,871
67,518
57,332
56,549
61,300
64,254
72,285
90,152
102,502
105,527
37,432
32,473
28,345
30,416
31,534
31,938
35,853
41,393
46,698
52,801
71,746
87,694
91,329