NOAA Fisheries has just announced their Final Rule on Amendment 11 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan that will become effective on March 3, 2019.
After consideration, the new minimum size for MALE short fin mako sharks will be 71″ FL (Fork Length) which is up from the previous 54″ minimum, but down from last year’s emergency regulation minimum size of 83″. FEMALE short fin mako sharks will have to be 83″ FL (Fork Length). This Final Rule will go into effect on March 3, 2019.
Overall this is good news for mako shark fishermen and tournament directors that have mako shark as a category, but it will certainly make things interesting for anglers working the cockpit when they have to determine not only if a mako shark will make minimum, but what sex the shark is to determine that minimum. You see, the most practical way to determine the sex of a mako shark is to examine the bottom of the fish to check for claspers. Claspers are only apparent on male sharks and are the organ that they use to hold on to the female shark while mating. When fish are laying on the dock….no problem…..roll them over and check. When fish are fighting for their lives beside a boat at the end of a wire….different story.
Photos from NOAA website
So now mako shark anglers will not only have to determine the sex of a shark, they will also have to determine if the fish is 71″ as a male or 83″ as a female before they boat it. Hopefully anglers will choose to be conscientious when fishing for and harvesting makos this season.
Like I said at the top, this is good news for mako anglers because at least we have a more reasonable size limit for makos this season….even if it is only for one sex.
You can see a reely long version of the Final Rule here……
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