Species profile no. 2: the Porbeagle Shark (Lamna nasus)
Porbeagles are in the mackerel shark family, which makes them a close relative of great whites! Unlike great whites, porbeagles mostly feed on fish and squid rather than mammals. They are very fast, active sharks. They have also exhibited some behavior that seems playful and social! They have been seen chasing other porbeagles in a non-aggressive way, rolling around in kelp, and tossing/biting objects that float on the ocean’s surface. They could do this to investigate potential food sources or other reasons, but it may not be far-fetched that some sharks could have playful behavior.
The porbeagle is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN, though some populations are critically endangered. As with most sharks, they are slow to reproduce. The age at which they mature varies depending on the population, but in some populations it can take females up to 18 years to become sexually mature! Their gestation is 8-9 months, and most litters produce around four pups. Their slow reproduction leaves them vulnerable to overfishing.
These sharks are commonly targeted by fisheries and killed as bycatch. They have valuable meat and fins. They are also commonly killed in sport fishing. They are killed by humans throughout the world.
Porbeagles are listed as protected by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, but the regulations given by UNCLOS have not been implemented. They are also listed in Appendix II if CITES, which grants them protection. There are many local quotas and restrictions, but they are either poorly managed or could be too little, too late. It is unknown whether any of these measures will help recover the porbeagle or not.
If you want to help obscure species like the porbeagle, please support the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and Shark Advocates International.
#porbeagle #porbeagleshark #mackerelshark #dontfearthefin #stopoverfishing #gameoverfishing #replacefearwithfacts #sharkeducation #sharkconservation #savesharks #helpsavesharks #savethesharks