Mako Shark
Sci: Isurus oxyrinchus

Common Names:The mako shark or mako is sometimes called a blue pointer
or mackerel shark. It is occasionally confused with the more lightly
built blue shark (Prionace glauca), but this latter species has much
longer pectoral fins, a longer, more rounded nose or snout and very
different teeth. Also, the top lobe of the blue shark's tail is
noticeably longer than the bottom lobe. There are said to be at least
two species of mako sharks in the world's oceans. The most common in
Australian waters is the shortfin mako described here.

Description: The mako shark is a large, robust shark with a stout body
and an almost symmetrical tail, a short, pointed snout, large dark eyes
and pronounced caudal keels on the tail wrist. It has long, wickedly
sharp and curved teeth that lack obvious cutting edges or serrations.
Mako shark colouration varies from dirty green or grey on the back to
electric blue, with a pale cream, white or silvery white belly. A blue
herringbone pattern is sometimes evident on the flanks of smaller
specimens.

Size: The mako shark grows to at least four metres in length and weights
approaching 500 kilos. However, it is more common at half this weight
and less.

Distribution: Mako sharks are found throughout the temperate oceans of
the world, occasionally straying into cooler waters to the north and
south, and also entering the tropics (mainly at great depth). In
Australia, it is most common from the east coast of Tasmania to the
QLD/NSW border region and off the south west of WA, but can turn up
almost anywhere outside of shallow, tropical waters at times. It is also
common in New Zealand seas. Makos prefer clean, blue water along the
edge of the Continental Shelf and beyond, but will sometimes move well
inshore and even enter large bays, harbours and estuary mouths at times
in search of food (primarily schooling fish and squid).

Fishing Techniques: Mako sharks are eagerly sought by game and sport
fishers who mostly target them with live and dead fish baits presented
on wire leaders in a berley (chum) trail. However, they have also been
known to strike lures and flies, and are very fond of fresh or live
squid. When hooked, the mako is a strong, spirited fighter sometimes
capable of spectacular aerial displays. It can be an especially
dangerous adversary when gaffed or tail roped, and there are countless
stories of violent mako encounters at boat-side!

Eating Qualities: The mako is regarded as one of the finest eating
sharks of all, with dense, pinkish meat that is very similar to that of
the broadbill swordfish. It should be thoroughly bled after capture. The
flesh of very large makos can be a little coarse at times and may
contain high levels of heavy metals and other accumulated contaminants.

By Steve Starling