By Carly Erickson
The northeastern Pacific Ocean’s great white sharks are not in danger of becoming extinct and will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The agency had been researching the health of the shark’s population after environmental groups put forth a petition requesting endangered species protection for great white sharks. The environmental groups were prompted to request endangered status after a 2011 study, conducted by UC Davis and Stanford University, estimated 219 great white sharks were living off the central California coast, while about double were inhabiting the entire northeastern Pacific Ocean, the Los Angeles Times reported.
NOAA researchers determined great white sharks make up a distinct genetic group that doesn’t have a high risk of extinction.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is also considering whether or not the shark should be on the state’s endangered species list. In February, the commission unanimously approved (5-0) the predatory shark as a possible endangered species at a meeting in Sacramento. The commission’s vote gave 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. It is expected to make a determination later this year.