Great white sharks: California has offered protections for great whites off the coast starting March 1.
Great white sharks, among the most fearsome predators in the sea, are now protected by California off the coast of the state.
They are protected under the California Endangered Species Act starting Friday, reported NBC San Diego. Three environmental organizations asked the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to protect the sharks a month ago, citing that only around 350 great white individuals are in the Northwestern Pacific region, meaning they are at risk of going extinct.
“While targeted sport and commercial fishing for a white shark has been banned in waters off California since the mid 1990s, there were some exceptions that allowed for incidental take and take associated with research activities,” Marci Yaremko, the fisheries manager for the agency, said in a statement obtained by KESQ in Palm Springs.
Anyone one who catches a shark, even unintentionally, will face a steep penalty unless they have a permit.
She added: “The department now will consider exceptions only on a case-by-case basis and will authorize take only under permits.”
Great white sharks around the world are considered “vulnerable” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’s threatened species list
There is, however, some dispute about the size of the Northeast Pacific’s population, according to the Ventura County Star. There are some protections of great whites along parts of the East Coast, while New Zealand is the only country that gives them full protection along the coast.
There are also large populations in Australia and South Africa. Both countries offer some partial protections.
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