Three sharks recently caught some 10km off Malta were not Great Whites, the Planning Authority said this afternoon.
“Following investigations carried out by the Environment Protection directorate within MEPA it resulted that the species in question appear to have been Shortfin Mako Sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus) and not the Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). Unlike the Great White Shark, (which is protected since it very rare) the capture and sale of Mako Sharks is not illegal,” MEPA said.
Shortfin Mako Sharks grow to an average length of 1.8 to 3.2 metres and weigh 60 to 400kg and some bigger examples have been reported. They have a blueish black and white underside and are renowned for their speed.
They feed on bony fish including Mackerel, tuna and swordfish.
Shortfin mako sharks are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Vulnerable to extinction on a global scale and Critically Endangered in the Mediterranean, yet there are no Maltese, EU or international limits on catch of this species. For more information on the role of Malta in shark conservation and how you can help, visit www.sharkalliance.org .
4 June 2010 – www.timesofmalta.com