Monterey County

Great white sharks growing in population, study shows

Great white shark population increasing

MOSS LANDING, Calif. - New research shows there are more great white sharks in our waters than researchers previously thought. The massive creatures are showing up by the thousands in the Pacific Ocean, indicating the population is actually doing well.

The great white shark is one of the most charismatic, most talked-about predator in the ocean.

Because of its popularity, it has been heavily regulated for the last 20 years at the state and federal levels.
"White sharks can't be fished or targeted or taken both by state and federal laws so these regulations give them the opportunity to reproduce and increase in population," said David Ebert, director for the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.

That's why a new study on great whites is no surprise to Ebert. The findings,  published in PLOS One, suggest the great whites in the Pacific Ocean have a population of around 2,400.

"It's a good thing because white sharks are a high-level predator in the marine environment so they kind of help in regulating the different ecosystems out there," Ebert said.

The problem is some of the less popular shark species aren't receiving the same protections.

The honeycomb catshark, for instance, was officially named in 2006 but hasn't been seen since 1972. It's exactly why Ebert's student Paul Clerkin cruised the Indian Ocean in 2012 and brought back eight new species of sharks.
"If they don't start paying attention we have some species in the Indian Ocean for example we haven't seen in 40 years. We don't even know if they're around," Ebert said.

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