Species composition, commercial landings, distribution and some aspects of biology of shark (class Pisces) of Pakistan: pelagic sharks
Also published as IOTC-2022-WPEB18-12.
Sharks are important part of coastal and offshore pelagic ecosystems and being caught mainly as bycatch of tuna gillnet fishing operations. There are 12 species of pelagic sharks caught in Pakistan which belongs to 5 families and 7 genera. Silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) is the most dominating pelagic shark followed by shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrhinchus) and pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus). Blue shark (Prionace glauca) is the rarest pelagic shark that is seldom caught by tuna gillnet vessels. There is general concern regarding over-exploitation of pelagic sharks globally as well as in Pakistan, as some species including scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) are disappearing very fast and it is feared that they may become extinct in near future. Although most pelagic sharks are included in the Appendix-II of CITES which restricts their global trade as well as there is a ban on their catching, landing, marketing and trade has been imposed through national fisheries legislations, however, there is no effective implementation mechanism in place for ensuring these restrictions in Pakistan. Exploitation of pelagic sharks, therefore, continue unabated in Pakistan as well as some other regional countries which may lead to their disappearance from commercial catches or may ends up in regional or global extinction.