11 February 2013 Poor Porbeagles Posted by: Defenders of Wildlife | 5 comments | Share: Michael Tucker, International Conservation Intern Whenever someone says the word “shark,” the great white from Jaws usually swims to mind. Unfortunately many shark species, the majority of which are harmless to humans, have paid the ultimate price for their more famous movie brethren. The porbeagle shark, an inhabitant of the colder waters of the Atlantic Ocean and a cousin of the great white, is one of those species in desperate need of assistance before it disappears from our planet’s oceans forever. Porbeagle shark (c)NMFS What is a Porbeagle? Lamna nasus, also known as the porbeagle, is a relatively common shark found in the waters between Great Britain and Canada, ranging from shorelines to depths of up to 4,462 feet. The porbeagle is a stout-bodied shark with a pointed nose and a unique white spot on the rear of the dorsal fin. Like its larger cousin the great white, the porbeagle has a dual-shaded body to help it hunt fish from below and above. These sharks are also one of the only species of shark in the world that like to play — they have been found off of the Cornish coast rolling in kelp and pushing buoys around for no reason other than entertainment. What’s the Problem? Porbeagle sharks breed slowly and only give birth to one or two pups a year, so any significant damage done to the population takes a long time to fix. It has been estimated that it takes close to 14 years for a population to recover from excessive fishing. Porbeagles were a favorite target for fishing vessels from the 1950s to the 1990s for shark steaks until strict fishing laws were implemented during the late 1990s in order to save the species from overfishing. Although fishing for porbeagles still occurs in the northwestern Atlantic, studies have shown that the number of porbeagles landed in Europe has declined in the past 20 years. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the porbeagle is listed as globally vulnerable, critically endangered in the northwest Atlantic, endangered in the northeast, and near threatened in the southern Atlantic. In both 2007 and 2010, proposals to regulate the trade of the species were presented by the European Union at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but fishing interests successfully blocked the proposals each time. You Can Help! For the past couple CITES meetings, Defenders has been helping garner support for a new chance at getting additional international regulations for porbeagles and other shark species to better protect them against overharvesting. Brazil, Comoros, Croatia, the European Union and Egypt will all be sponsoring the porbeagle proposal, and we’ll be at the upcoming CITES conference meeting with the delegates and advocating for the proposal. We are hoping that this time the Parties to the Convention will recognize the dire need for international cooperation to protect porbeagle sharks. Last time, at the 2010 meeting, the porbeagle proposal lost by just a single vote! We are turning now to Panama, who could cast the decisive vote on this proposal and others like it designed to gain new protections for hammerhead and oceanic whitetip sharks. Click here to send a letter asking the President of Panama to support shark conservation at this year’s CITES conference! 5 Responses to “Poor Porbeagles” Millie Sheen February 12th, 2013 Poor Shark. Why do people still not get it? Here is a classic example of what will happen to most animals as we are killing them all!!! LEAVE THEM ALONE!!! It’s just the fact that everyone is afraid of even the most harmless shark. It’s only what some peoples interpretation of the sharks characteristic. They are truly nothing like that! As they say- You can’t trust everything you see. Like films or books. Thanks for getting so many peoples point across. Ingrid February 14th, 2013 Thank you for this write-up on a species I knew nothing about. The illustration of the porbeagle at play is particularly poignant. I’m obviously not surprised (ever) that industries like fisheries block critical legislation related to vulnerable species. I’ll lend my support. Анна February 26th, 2013 Stop to kill animals!!!! sharon davidson July 21st, 2013 our wildlife needs to be protected at all cost Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Senate Wakes Up to Climate Change…At Least Some of Them Tonight more than 20 senators will be taking over the Senate floor to pull an all-nighter to “wake up” Congress to climate change. Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential.