If you had a NOAA Fisheries Highly Migratory Species Angling or Charter/Headboat category permit and shark endorsement in 2020, be on the lookout for an important survey about shortfin makos in your email inbox—including your junk mail—or standard mailbox in the near future! The survey is part of a larger study to assess and minimize post-release mortality in the recreational shortfin mako shark fishery.
In 2018, NOAA Fisheries increased the minimum shortfin mako recreational size limit drastically—from 54” to 72” for males and 83” for females—to help reduce overfishing of the depleted North Atlantic shortfin mako stock. As a result of this change, the percentage of makos caught and released by recreational anglers increased dramatically. While this may seem like a good way to get the stock on the road to recovery, catch and release is only effective if makos survive the stress and injury that they experience when being fought, handled boatside (we all know that makos have a nasty disposition), and released.
This coming summer, scientists from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the New England Aquarium, and the American Saltwater Guides Association will deploy up to 50 satellite tags on makos to directly monitor the fate of animals after they are caught and released. However, to make sure that we design our tagging study properly, we need your help!
The survey that you will receive is meant to collect some basic information about the gear, tackle, and techniques that you typically use to catch and handle shortfin makos—as well as other pelagic sharks—and to better understand your shark fishing effort in 2020. Using the information that you provide, we will design our tagging study to directly examine the effect that specific gears, tackle types, and handling methods have on mako survival, and determine if certain practices are more beneficial than others. We’ll also get a better idea of how the new regulations on shortfin makos have impacted recent fishing practices.
By spending just 10 or 15 minutes taking our survey, you will provide information that will aid in the recovery of the shortfin mako stock in the North Atlantic and help make the recreational shark fishery more sustainable. If you have any questions, send an email to email@example.com.