Oceanic Whitetip Sharks (Carcharhinus longimanus) are pelagic predators that are typically found well offshore near the surface of tropical and subtropical waters. (NOAA Fisheries) One of the main threats that an #OceanicWhitetip faces is being bycatch caused by fishing practices. (NOAA Fisheries) When an animal is bycatch, it means that they were a non-target species caught in the process of trying to catch the target species. A Whitetips tendency to stay near the surface of the water in climates usually above 20 degrees Celsius puts them in a position where they are vulnerable to long line fishing, a practice frequently used by tuna fisheries. (NOAA Fisheries) The Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) took action in protecting the Oceanic White Tip species from being bycatch in their fisheries by adopting policies that prevent the holding, landing, or collection of any part of the animal. (Tolotti et al, 2015) This is a unique measure to protect the Oceanic Whitetips that is not used in the protection of any other pelagic shark species. (Tolotti et.al. 2015) It is important to recognize the different strategies that fisheries use to catch their target species because of the broad impact that it can have on marine ecosystems. The danger that many fishing practices pose to Oceanic Whitetips puts them in danger of being accidentally taken by fisheries that are not looking to harvest them. While commercially caught fish are much less expensive, it has a greater negative impact on the marine environments than seafood that is sustainably caught. Consumers play a large role in supporting safe or harmful fishing practices based on what they choose to buy when they purchase seafood. Help save our sharks by making conscious choices as a consumer!
Post by @kberry122
Closeup photo by @oceanramsey