Shark, Porbeagle

Lamna nasus

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Longline
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — All Areas
Stock detail — 1 to 9

Sustainability rating five info

Sustainability overview

Porbeagle is assessed as Critically Endangered in Northeast Atlantic by the IUCN. ICES advises that no fishing for porbeagle should be permitted, landings should not be allowed, and a rebuilding plan needs to be developed. Porbeagle are occasionally caught as bycatch. Because of its poor conservation status, porbeagles are automatically scored red-rated.


Porbeagle is part of a group of sharks known collectively as mackerel sharks, belonging to the family Lamnidae. Porbeagles are found in the surface layers of the open ocean, and they also occur in coastal waters. They are a highly migratory and schooling species. Porbeagles live for between 30 and 40 years. Maturity for a male is gained at about 7 years and for a female at 12-14 years. They can grow to a length of 350cm. In the North Atlantic mating occurs in autumn and winter and the females give birth during spring and summer after an 8-9 month gestation period. The northeast Atlantic stock extends from Iceland and the Barents Sea to Northwest Africa.

Stock information

Criterion score: 1 info

Stock Area

All Areas

Stock information

Since porbeagles are listed as critically endangered and are listed as an Appendix II species through CITES), they are deemed a red-rated species. Porbeagles are a low productivity species and therefore are highly susceptible to overexploitation (WG2017).


Criterion score: 1 info

Since porbeagles are considered as critically endangered and are protected, they are not allowed to be fished for, retained on board, transhipped or to landed in all EU waters (Council Regulation (EU) 2015/104, 2016/72 and 2017/127). It is also prohibited for EU vessels to catch and retain them in international waters. It is illegal to remove of fins at sea and subsequently discard or dump the body. However, some limited landings have been recorded in recent years and they are considered to be a regular bycatch, particularly in the blue whiting Norwegian Sea pelagic trawl fishery, where their mortality is likely to be high.

In Norway it is compulsory to report their accidental catches in electronic logbooks but there is a sheer lack of information available about their catches by other countries. The is a lack of observer coverage in this fishing fleet and therefore, their catches go unrecorded.

The EU implemented a maximum landing size for this species in 2009, but this has likely led to increased discarding, which is also unrecorded. ICCAT has advised that there is a need for increased research and monitoring of the species.

Capture Information

Criterion score: 1 info

Though Porbeagle are a prohibited species, they are mainly caught in France, Spain, the UK and Norway. They were originally targetted in French fisheries and seasonally targetted in UK waters. They sometimes are now caught as bycatch in mixed fisheries, particularly in the UK, Ireland, France and Spain. It is caught as bycatch in mainly gillnet or pelagic trawl fisheries. An unquantified amount of discarding now takes place in mixed demersal trawl and gillnet fisheries operating in EU waters.


Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Coley, Saithe
Hake, European
Monkfish, Anglerfish
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Sturgeon (Farmed)


ICES. 2017. Report of the Working Group on Elasmobranchs .2017., 31 May-7 June 2017, Lisbon, Portugal. ICES CM 2017/ACOM:16. 1018 pp.

Shark Trust, 2010. An illustrated Compendium of Sharks, Skates, Rays and Chimaera. Chapter 1: The British Isles and Northeast Atlantic. Part 2: Sharks

ICES. 2017a. Report of the Workshop to compile and refine catch and landings of elasmobranchs (WKSHARK3), 20-24 February 2017, Nantes, France . ICES CM 2017/ ACOM:38. 119 pp.

ICES 2017b. 3.1 Norwegian Sea ecoregion - Ecosystem overview. DOI: 10.17895/