Potentially unsustainable fisheries of a critically-endangered pelagic shark species: the case of the blue shark (Prionace glauca) in the Western Mediterranean Sea
The blue shark (Prionace glauca) is a pelagic, highly migratory shark commonly considered to be a by-catch species of small-scale pelagic longline fisheries. It has been listed by the IUCN as “critically endangered” in the Mediterranean Sea since 2016, but no measure has been taken so far to control its exploitation there. This study analyses the trends in this fishery over recent years in Spanish Mediterranean waters. The results show that blue sharks are now facing considerable fishing pressure, particularly from the long line industrial fleet based in the Andalusian region. Indeed, the results indicate that the blue shark can no longer be considered as a by-catch species and has now become a target species for these fishermen. We suggest measures should be taken urgently to regulate this fishery and that further studies be carried out to determine whether or not this species should be fished any longer in this area.