The Pacific coast of California and Baja California, Mexico are home to a unique population of great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) that are genetically distinct and isolated from all other great white sharks around the globe. Scientists estimate that only a few hundred adult and sub-adult individual great white sharks remaining in this population, meaning the continued existence of great white sharks on the US west coast is at risk.
Existing protections are not adequately protecting this species. Juvenile great white sharks continue to be killed as incidental bycatch in US and Mexican commercial fishing gillnets in important nursery areas for these young sharks. Under existing regulations, there are no limits on this bycatch, nor is there sufficient observer coverage in these fisheries. In addition, juvenile great white sharks off of southern California can be caught and killed by recreational fishermen who assume any small shark is edible, when if fact they have some of the highest levels of mercury, DDT, and PCBs found in any shark species worldwide.
Our ocean ecosystems need great white sharks. As top ocean predators, great white sharks play a critical top-down role in structuring the marine ecosystem by keeping prey populations like seals and sea lions in check. The presence of great white sharks ultimately increases species diversity of the overall ecosystem.
The North East Pacific Population of great white sharks along the US West Coast requires additional protection as an endangered species because of its low population size and the ongoing threats from human activities. Endangered Species Act listing will be critical to effectively addressing the continued bycatch of great white sharks, while promoting additional scientific research on this dwindling population.
We urge the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect great white sharks by listing the North East Pacific Population on the Federal Endangered Species List.
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Become a Shark Steward Member and motivate others to appreciate and protect sharks.
Hammerheads Getting Hammered Shark Stewards is working to protect Hammerhead sharks from extinction. We seek international protections for all species of these sharks under CITES Appendix II at the Coalition of the Parties (CoP 16) at Bangkok in 2013.
Part of this campaign is to research the sharks movements and behavior through satellite tagging at Cocos Island National Reserve in Costa Rica. These sharks are traveling between the Galapagos and Malpelo and are frequently killed in longlines set for tuna. Increasingly, these sharks are killed for their fins and landed illegally at private docks in Costa Rica. Poachers are even killing these sharks in the marine reserve with impunity. These sharks need international protection immediately. Our campaign goal is to reach 30,000 in 2012 to purchase tags, support our direct documentation of the poaching and shark fin trade and take this campaign to the CoP16 in 2013
Here is How
- Start Your Own FIN Free Movement using the FIN Free Toolkit
- Fundraise to Support Shark Stewards
- Hold a Shark Party, Raise Awreness and Drive a Petition
- Join the Texas Campaign to Ban Shark Finning