A pre-COSEWIC assessment of Porbeagle Shark in Newfoundland and Labrador waters

Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS)
Research Document 2013/088
Newfoundland and Labrador, Maritimes, and Gulf Regions

A pre-COSEWIC assessment of Porbeagle Shark (Lamna nasus) in Newfoundland and Labrador waters

M.R. Simpson and C.M. Miri

Published in April 2014


Reassessment of the Porbeagle Shark (Lamna nasus) has recently been proposed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA). Although COSEWIC first designated the Porbeagle Shark as Endangered in May 2004, and recommended its listing on Schedule 1 of SARA, the Government of Canada decided not to list this species after a series of public consultations in June 2006. This paper summarizes available information on the Porbeagle Shark in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) waters to support a reassessment of this species by COSEWIC. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) NL annual research surveys cannot be used to determine the NL distribution and population status of Porbeagle Sharks because they are rarely captured by survey gear. Porbeagle Shark discards remain unrecorded in all fisheries statistics, with the exception of those collected by Canadian Fisheries Observers. The latter constitute the only reliable source of information on discarding at sea. Fisheries statistics, including the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization’s (NAFO) STATLANT-21A database, DFONL Zonal Interchange File Format (ZIFF), and the Newfoundland Fisheries Observer Program (NFOP) database, provide very limited information on NL Porbeagle Shark landings. Furthermore, large numbers of this species are apparently being removed from the NL population as dead bycatch, which are discarded at sea in teleost-directed fisheries.

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