Blue Shark, Prionace glauca
Red List status: Near Threatened
Conservation status: Although widespread with a relatively high reproductive rate, the Blue Shark is the most heavily fished shark and declines have been observed.
Commercial importance: Taken in substantial volume as ‘wanted’ bycatch especially by Spanish and Portuguese pelagic longliners, retained for fins and meat.
Management: Blue Sharks are highly migratory, requiring management on an international scale through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs). At ICCAT 2016, small steps were taken towards establishing limits on the North Atlantic population – but there is still a way to go.
Habitat and ecology: Pelagic (open water species). Blue Sharks segregate by sex and size, with females more abundant at higher latitudes.
General information: North Atlantic Blue Sharks are considered to be a single stock though they are highly migratory and exhibit complex movement patterns. Each year Blue Sharks return to UK waters during summer months as part of a large-scale, clockwise trans-Atlantic movement utilising the major oceanic currents. Tagging studies in the Pacific also demonstrate extensive movements – in one case up to 9,200 km. As they run the gauntlet of Spanish and Portuguese longline swordfish fisheries, Blue Sharks are taken in very high volume as bycatch, yet much of the catch goes unreported. .
We urgently need catch limits for: