Great white sharks are a protected species in California after being declared an endangered species by the state.
For one of the ocean’s most majestic creatures, this is good news. With illegal shark fin fishing still running rampant worldwide, California is making strides to protect one of the ocean’s most important animals.
Pending a final decision, given after one year of research by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, great white sharks have been granted immediate protection.
The San Jose Mercury News reports that the decision by the state came unanimously.
The decision by California to grant great white sharks protection as an endangered species comes after recent studies showed that as little as 339 “sub-adult” great whites may be populating the coast.
Fish and Game Commission President Michael Sutton says:
“The status review will give us better information on the white shark population off the West Coast and threats to its survival. That will give us the ability to make an informed decision about whether or not to list the white shark as endangered under California law.”
According to NPR, while great white sharks are already internationally protected, California is granting extra protection. These extra protections will include a ban on incidental catches by net fishermen.
Great white sharks are the oceans most feared predator. A recent great white off the East Coast has become national news, being dubbed a “real life Jaws.” However, Assemblyman Paul Wong reminds everyone:
“The loss of an apex predator can have devastating ecosystem consequences.”
Is California doing the right thing by granting great white sharks extra protections off the coast?
[image via Wikimedia Commons]