The silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), an oceanic shark found in tropical waters, is listed as a vulnerable species (VU). The vessels of the fishing fleet which report high silky shark bycatch are those using longlines, gill nets and driftnets. However, fisheries using purse seine techniques (our case) account for less than 4% of the total bycatch regarding this species. Nevertheless, the silky shark is indeed our main bycatch.
Even though fisheries have ways to curb the risks involved in the process of returning silky sharks to the sea, Echebastar wants to further its commitment to going beyond the requirements of the MSC certification.
At Echebastar we already use an innovative catch management method which ensures the release of non-target live fish back to the sea with virtually no human intervention. In addition to that we have now started the Silky Shark Tagging Project.
The main objective of this project lies in determining the post release mortality rate of the silky shark associated with tuna purse seine fishing so we can first assess the impact of our good practices and then identify the benefits of methods which could reduce the impact on the species even further.
The selection of silky sharks, the satellite tagging and the subsequent release of the fish will be carried out by a team of biologists from Echebastar and Azti, who will be working aboard our very own JAI ALAI.