State And Federal Wildlife Agencies May Disagree About The Status Of The Great White Shark

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Today, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) completed its status review of the northeastern Pacific population of white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) and concluded (pdf) that listing the species under the Endangered Species Act is not warranted. According to Heidi Dewar, a fisheries research biologist at NMFS, the agency “felt that there were more than 200 mature females alone, an indication of a total population of at least 3,000." NMFS determined that the population is neither in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range nor likely to become so in the foreseeable future.

Notably, NMFS’ announcement came close on the heels of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) June 19, 2013 statement that it is accepting comments on whether the northeastern Pacific population of white shark should be listed as a threatened or endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Earlier this year, CDFW concluded that insufficient information was available to determine whether the shark’s population was increasing, decreasing, or stable. The California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) subsequently determined that listing the white shark as a threatened or endangered species may be warranted, and designated the shark as a candidate species. CDFW’s June 19 statement marks the next step in the status review process. CDFW is soliciting information on potential habitat destruction or modification, overexploitation, predation, competition, disease, or other activities that may affect the status of the shark.