Great white sharks plentiful off US west coast

Jun 16, 2014
A great white shark jumps out of the water as it bites a fake decoy seal near False Bay, on July 4, 2010

Great white sharks are likely rising in numbers off the coast of California and are not at risk of extinction despite some reports to the contrary, US researchers said Monday.

The findings are good news for the ocean predator, suggesting that around 2,000 of them are swimming about in the Eastern North Pacific, not 219 as research released three years ago had indicated.

"If something is wrong with the largest, most powerful group in the sea, then something is wrong with the sea, so it's a relief to find they're in good shape," said George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research.

"That we found these are doing OK, better than OK, is a real positive in light of the fact that other are not necessarily doing as well," said Burgess, a co-founder of the Shark Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The study appears in the journal PLOS ONE.

The earlier count was based on research at two sites—the Farallon Islands west of San Francisco, and nearby Tomales Point—where seals congregate and so do the sharks that eat them.

By accounting for all life stages of sharks there, researchers found that their numbers were more likely around 2,000, not 200.

Since sharks are difficult to count, and populations were so fluid at those two sites, researchers also widened their research scope to include other known gathering spots from Mexico into British Columbia and Alaska.

The US National Marine Fisheries Service has declined petitions to add white sharks to the endangered species list, estimating the Eastern North Pacific population at about 3,000 sharks.

Explore further: Australia shark cull could snare more than 900

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Australia shark cull could snare more than 900

Jun 10, 2014

Australia's controversial shark cull could snare more than 900 animals over the next three years, a government review found, angering critics who said Tuesday most were caught needlessly.

Agency says shark population is stable

Jun 30, 2013

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday that the northeastern Pacific Ocean population of great white sharks is not in danger of extinction and does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species ...

Study says sharks/rays globally overfished

Jan 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —One quarter of the world's cartilaginous fish, namely sharks and rays, face extinction within the next few decades, according to the first study to systematically and globally assess their fate.

Calif. great white sharks get protections for now

Feb 07, 2013

The most feared predator in the ocean received new protections today when a California commission decided the great white shark should be studied as a potential endangered species.

Anti-shark devices popular on Maui after attacks

Jan 24, 2014

A surge in shark attacks on Maui over the past year, including two fatal ones, hasn't stopped people from surfing and swimming in the warm ocean waters that surround the Hawaii island. But it has spurred ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0