Citing recent research about the group’s numbers and genetic makeup, scientists from Oceana, Center for Biological Diversity and Shark Stewards contend that as few as 350 white sharks could be swimming off the coasts of the United States and Mexico.
“The new science sets off alarm bells for all of us, as no one expected the population to be so dangerously low,” said Geoff Shester, who directs Oceana’s California program. “Great white sharks are powerful allies keeping our oceans healthy, and they need us to protect them far more than we should fear them.”
The sale and trade of great whites is banned under international law, but at least 10 white sharks are accidentally caught each year off the West Coast by gill nets set for other fish. Set and drift gill nets targeting California halibut, white sea bass, thresher sharks and swordfish account for more than two-thirds of young white sharks caught in their nursery grounds.