By Josh Dulaney
On the heels of research from Cal State Long Beach, a federal agency has determined that the northeastern Pacific Ocean great white shark does not need to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration conducted its review after two petitions last year -- one by WildEarth Guardians and the other filed jointly by Oceana, the Center for Biological Diversity and Shark Stewards -- asking the agency to list the shark as threatened or endangered and that critical habitat be designated.
The agency found that the shark population has a low risk of extinction, based on threat levels, population trends and data from population models that looked at the impact of commercial fishing in the U.S. and Mexico.
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service formed a biological review team of scientists from the La Jolla-based Southwest Fisheries Science Center.
The review found that the impact of fisheries mortality on the shark population starting in the 1970s does not suggest that great white sharks have been severely depleted, defined by the review team as a 90 percent reduction over the last two generations.
The biological review team also reported that "the level of genetic diversity found in the NEP white shark population is consistent with a population of adult females ranging from a few hundred to low thousands."
Catherine Kilduff, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, said listing the sharks under the Endangered Species Act would have triggered more regulations for fisheries, and additional research. More....