Great white shark could become an endangered species

Great white shark

The great white shark this week became a candidate for California’s endangered species list, Reuters reported. 

California’s Fish and Game Commission unanimously approved (5-0) the predatory shark as a possibly endangered species at a meeting Wednesday in Sacramento.

A 2011 study showed that the great white shark population had resurged in Santa Monica and Malibu, but recent studies by environmental groups showed less than 340 adult and sub-adult great whites were found in two key feeding grounds near California’s central coast and the Mexican Baja Peninsula.

The commission’s vote gives way to a one-year study by fish and game department staff to analyze whether to place protections on the world’s biggest predatory fish. If approved, the great white shark would become the first marine animal to make it onto the state’s endangered species list, according to Reuters. 

It’s illegal to fish for great whites in California waters, but the sharks often become “bycatches” in large net fishing that’s meant to target halibut, white sea bass and swordfish, according to environmental expert Geoff Shester.

Great white sharks, which can grow up to 20 feet in length and weigh up to 5,000 pounds, are listed as endangered in South Africa and Australia.