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Great White Sharks now protected in California

Published On: Mar 01 2013 09:23:31 AM CST
Great White Shark

AP file photo

LOS ANGELES -

Starting today, great white sharks will be protected under the state's Endangered Species Act.  

"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," said Marci Yaremko, the fisheries manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"The department now will consider exceptions only on a case-by-case basis and will authorize take only under permits..."

State law defines taking as hunting, pursuing, catching, capturing or killing an animal or trying to do any of those things.

The state Fish and Game Commission agreed in February to list the top-feeding predator as a candidate for state protection, but its inclusion as a threatened or endangered species does not become official until the panel's action is published in California Regulatory Notice Register, which is expected today.

Now that the great white shark is a candidate for state protection, fish and wildlife official will began an exhaustive study of white shark
populations off the California Coast. That report is expected to be done early next year.

Great whites -- they are technically Carcharodon carcharias -- are typically found near large pinniped populations.

Partial protections are afforded along the East Coast of the United States.

New Zealand, the site of the most recent fatal attack on a human, is the only nation that affords them full protection within 200 miles of its coast.

Partial protections are afforded in South Africa and Australia, where there are large populations.