OTTAWA – Canada supports efforts to save the endangered shortfin makos, but the sharks need more. Canada must propose an international ban on their retention.

Last year, Canada co-led a proposal to heed the voice of science and prohibit fisheries from keeping any North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks, dead or alive. We are urging Canada to show global leadership in marine conservation by again proposing this international ban. Earlier this year, Canada prohibited retention of these sharks in Canadian waters. It’s time to make this ban international.

Mako sharks are fast swimmers, but they’re losing the race against extinction. Poor regulation of fishing practices has caused the North Atlantic shortfin mako shark population to decline to such a drastic low that last year it was recognized globally and domestically as endangered. Scientists say even if the catch were reduced to zero, the stock would take at least 25 years to rebuild and would have only a 50 per cent chance of recovery.

Despite the drastic situation, there is no international ban on retaining mako sharks. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (of which Canada is a member) manages fishing fleets that can make or break the mako sharks. Last year, the ICCAT failed to pass the ban.

Canada has an opportunity to show global leadership again. Until July 31, ICCAT is accepting proposals regarding management measures that will decide the fate of shortfin mako sharks. ICCAT has the power to stop their decline in the Atlantic, but a member country needs to propose a ban for this to happen. Canada should be that country.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Olga Shuvalova,, 514-569-6496

Shannon Arnold, Ecology Action Centre,, 902-329-4668