BOSTON (AP) — The federal government is shutting down fishing of a popular species of shark to try to give the animals a chance to recover from population decline.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shut down shortfin mako fishing on Tuesday. The big fish have long been prized by sport fishermen. They’re also popular with seafood fans, who have long used them to make steaks.

The ban on mako fishing has no set end date and will depend on the status of the species, NOAA said. The mako population is difficult to rebuild because the fish have slow population growth rates, the agency said.

The federal government has said the mako is overfished. Conservationists have said they also have threats such as pollution and warming oceans.

Fishermen sometimes caught close to a million pounds of shortfin mako per year in the 1980s, but the catch dwindled to less than 80,000 pounds in 2020. The fish usually come to the docks in New England and the mid-Atlantic states.


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