By Elizabeth Larson
On Friday the California Department of Fish and Wildlife released a full status review of the Northeast Pacific population of white shark in which the agency concluded that the shark should not be granted endangered species protection under California law.
The review document can be seen below.
Oceana, the Center for Biological Diversity and Shark Stewards submitted the state listing petition – as well as a federal one – in August 2012.
In February 2013, the California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to move the great white shark into candidacy for a state Endangered Species Act listing, which began a yearlong review.
Then, last June, the National Marine Fisheries Service declined to protect great white sharks off the coast of California under the Endangered Species Act.
In completing the review, California Department of Fish and Wildlife staff determined that the best scientific information available indicates the petitioned action is not warranted.
The listing petition included information that as few as 339 of the sharks live along the California coast.
However, the state review says there are a number of shark population estimates, ranging from as few as 339 up to more than 3,000.
“All current estimates involve some degree of uncertainty as there are significant gaps in the knowledge of white shark movements, reproductive biology and mating behaviors,” the review stated.
“Based on our thorough review of the best available scientific information, the Department believes the estimated abundance of 339 individuals stated in the Petition underestimates the true size of the population,” the document goes on to say, noting that the 3,000-shark population estimate was based on an “expanded data sets and more robust assumptions.”
As such, the agency is recommending that the California Fish and Game Commission not list the Northeast Pacific population of white shark as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.
The final listing decision will be up to the commission, which is expected to take up the matter at a future meeting.
Updates will be posted on the commission's Web site, www.fgc.ca.gov .