Saturday, 13 July 2013

Great White Shark

The National Marine Fisheries Service recently declined to protect great white sharks off the coast of California under the Endangered Species Act, a decision criticized by Oceana, the Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental advocates. The Monterray Bay Aquarium, which studies and also displays great white sharks, was more supportive, saying that the public concern over sharks was well placed, and that the federal decision was encouraging because it didn't find the sharks to be at risk of extinction.

Advocates suggest that fewer than 350 sharks remain at two key sites in the Pacific, and said that protecting the sharks is necessary to ensure this sub-population survives, particularly in the face of death from gillnet fisheries targeting other fish. So-called bycatch in gillnet fisheries is a concern not only for other fish, but also marine mammals, turtles and sea birds. The State of California will consider protecting the species under state law.

“The federal government simply made the wrong decision in the face of the best available science,” said Geoff Shester, California program director for Oceana. “However, our efforts have demonstrated the dire need for more research on West Coast white sharks, and we should all agree that steps need to be taken immediately to start managing the white shark bycatch problem in gillnet fisheries.”

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