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Shark Working Group

Shortfin Mako Shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) --- North Pacific

◊ Biological Profile

The shortfin mako is a coastal and oceanic epipelagic shark species with a circumglobal distribution in all major oceans. In the Pacific Ocean, this species is distributed from about 20°S to 40°N, from surface waters to about 600 m depth.

Shortfin makos are highly active and among the fastest and most powerful fishes. They are endothermic with a number of physiological adaptations that enable them to keep their core temperature several degrees above ambient temperature. Shortfin makos are most often found where surface water temperature is between 15 and 23 °C. They are active predators feeding primarily on teleost fishes and cephalopods.

Shortfin makos undertake large scale movements ( >4000km ) that have been documented by tagging studies and they also exhibit regular diurnal vertical movements between surface waters and depths of several hundred meters. This species has an apparent difference in growth between the sexes with females attaining greater size and maturing later than males. In addition they are believed to have size- and sex-specific distribution patterns.

There is some uncertainty about ageing shortfin mako sharks, but they are believed to be relatively long-lived and late to mature.

Distribution for shortfin mako shark
in the North Pacific Ocean.

  • Life span: 25-40 years
  • Maximum size: ♂ about 325 cm TL, ♀ about 375 cm TL
  • Size at maturity: ♂ about 180-210 cm TL, ♀ about 275-300 cm TL
  • Reproductive cycle: 2-3 years
  • Reproductive mode: Aplacental viviparity with oophagy
  • Gestation period: Uncertain 9-25 months
  • Parturition season: Mostly late winter through spring
  • Litter size: 4 to 25 pups
  • Size at birth: About 70 cm TL

◊ Fisheries for Shortfin Mako Shark in the North Pacific Ocean

Shortfin mako sharks are caught in longline, gillnet, artisanal and recreational fisheries in the North Pacific. Commercial fisheries do not specifically target shortfin mako sharks; however, incidentally caught mako sharks are processed for meat and other products, and they are prized by recreational anglers for their energetic fights.