|Chimaera, ratfish, pearl|
Pale ghost shark is a worst choice seafood. An alternative is
Pale ghost shark is a slow-growing deepwater shark that is found throughout New Zealand’s offshore waters. It has soft skin that is easily damaged. It is caught almost entirely as a bycatch of other target trawl fisheries operating around the Chatham Rise and in southern waters, most notably the hoki fishery, but also the silver warehou, arrow squid and barracouta fisheries.
Pale ghost sharks are caught as bycatch in the hoki, silver warehou, arrow squid and barracoota fisheries. Concerns include the lack of some basic biological data on pale ghost sharks, little directed research and no quantitative stock assessment (resulting in unknown sustainability of current catch limits). Also of concern is the possible dumping of catches in past years and habitat damage caused by bottom trawling. As a bycatch species of other fisheries, it is associated with seabird, marine mammal and other non-target fish bycatch which varies depending on the fishery. In 2013 a revised New Zealand National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks was developed. There are no specific conservation actions for ghost sharks, nor is there any difference in its management from the status quo. Pale ghost sharks were ranked at ninth on the initial risk assessment for all chondricthyans (Ford et al, 2015.)
Not certified under any scheme.
Ghost sharks are exported mainly to Japan, worth $891,000 in 2015. Total shark, ray and skates exports in 2015 were worth $31.33 million. New Zealand is amongst the top 20 global exporters of shark product.
No regional or fishing method difference.
|Population size:||Unknown. Estimates of current and reference biomass are not available.|
|Annual catch limit:||Limit set at 1780 tonnes since 2004-05.|
|Recorded catch:||Estimated landings of 759 tonnes in 2014-15. When comparing with past catches it is likely that ghost sharks have been dumped and not reported in past years.|
|Stock trends:||Uncertain. Chatham Rise trawl survey indicates a decline of 80% between 1984 and 1994 (Clark et al, 2000).|
|MSY Status:||Unknown. Given the likely strong stock recruit relationship in elasmobranchs, and likely low fecundity, current equations used for estimating MSY are not appropriate as they are likely to produce overly optimistic estimates (see Francis and Francis, 1992).|
|The Ministry of Primary Industries assessment plenary report includes:||
“No assessment of any stocks of ghost sharks has been completed.”
GSP 5: “Unlikely at recent catch levels to be below the soft limit (20%Bo) and unknown at the TACC.” “Biomass estimates from trawl surveys on the sub-Antarctic have increased in recent years.”
GSP 7: Unknown. (MPI 2016, p291-294).
|Distribution:||A deepwater species found throughout New Zealand waters, but mostly on the Chatham Rise and Southland/sub-Antarctic at depths of 400-800m.|
|Maximum age (years):||Unknown|
|Age at sexual maturity:||Unknown|
|Reproductive output:||Likely to be low|
|Ability to recover:||Low|
|Fishing method(s):||Trawling (mixture of bottom and midwater), caught as bycatch in hoki (43%), silver warehou (13%), arrow squid (13%) and barracouta (10%) fisheries.|
|Habitat damage:||Destruction of deepwater habitats by bottom trawling. Bottom trawling bulldozes the sea floor, destroying complex biogenic structures including soft corals, sponges and long-lived bryozoans.|
|Habitat of particular significance:||hasn’t been defined in New Zealand.|
|Bycatch:||Wide range of bycatch species (see hoki, silver warehou, arrow squid, barracouta), including non-target fish and shark species.|
|Ecological effects:||Could have broad ecological impacts as a result of seafloor damage and removal of a wide variety of non-target fish. (See hoki, silver warehou, and arrow squid.)|
Wide range of bycatch species depending on which fishery (see hoki, silver warehou, arrow squid, barracouta), including seabirds and marine mammals.
Hoki: It is estimated that 192 fur seals are captured in the hoki fishery (5-year average). Based on the recent catch spread of hoki the main captures occur in the Cook Strait (54%), off West Coast of the South Island (24%), off east coast of the South Island and Chatham Rise (15%). The hoki fishery catches about half of the estimated fur seals caught by trawling. The sub-Antarctic and Snares Shelf hoki fishery has a low capture rate for nationally critical New Zealand sea lions of about one a year. The trawl fishery also captures about 306 birds a year (5-year average): the main species are Salvin’s albatross, southern Buller’s albatross, white-capped albatross, sooty shearwater, white-chinned petrel, and cape petrels. Protected coral species are also reported caught in hake tows in most quota areas. The corals caught include gorgonian, hydrocorals, black corals (Antipatharia) and stony corals (Scleractinia) – which includes reef-like, tree-like, and solitary small corals. Other bycatch species include vulnerable deepwater sharks (e.g. shovelnose dogfish, seal shark and Baxter’s dogfish). These low productivity species also include threatened basking sharks (observed at one per year but could be higher), deepsea skates and some other elasmobranchs.
Trawl squid: Globally threatened New Zealand sea lions, which have been in decline for over 15 years, New Zealand fur seals, albatross and petrels drown in trawl nets. The fishery also catches globally threatened basking sharks. It is estimated that over 400 seabirds are killed annually. The main species observed caught were white-capped albatross, Salvin’s and southern Buller’s albatross, sooty shearwater and white-chinned petrels. The squid fishery made up 32% of white-capped albatross and 35% of sooty shearwater captures. The bottom trawl squid fishery also has bycatch of protected coral species.
Barracouta and silver warehou: Over 1160 birds are caught in middle-depth fisheries, which include barracouta. This includes a significant bycatch in white-capped (shy) albatrosses, white-chinned petrels and sooty shearwaters. In addition, there is also the risk of capturing Hector’s dolphins.
|Management component:||Single species. There is some uncertainty about the number of stocks and the stock boundaries. Pale ghost sharks are managed as three areas, which is not precautionary as some of those areas may have more than one stock e.g. sub-Antarctic.|
|Quota Management Species:||Yes, since 1999.|
|Management plan:||Deepwater management plan for 2010-15 is out of date, and has yet to be reviewed and replaced. Pale ghost sharks are outside the current plan. There is no operational plan and the old Deepwater plan lacks key environmental standards. The National Plans of Action on Seabirds and Sharks are more relevant to bycatch issues but they are slow to be implemented.|
|Stock assessment:||No quantitative stock assessment for any area and little directed research.|
|Research:||There is no directed fishery research on ghost sharks.|
|Observer coverage:||Observer coverage is 27% in the hoki fishery, 38% in the jack mackerel fishery, and 8% in middle depth trawl fisheries. The middle depth trawl is unlikely to be spatially or temporally representative of the fishing effort.|