California's Great White Sharks Need Our Help, Not Our Fear

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Oceana, founded in 2001, is the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation.

About the Petition

The number of adult great whites swimming off our Pacific Coast is alarmingly low, and they are losing their pups to deadly gillnets. If something doesn't change, they could disappear forever.

We shouldn't be scared of sharks, we should be scared for them.

Great whites help keep the ocean food web healthy and stable as they hunt their prey. Our oceans need sharks. We're petitioning the state of California to protect great whites as an endangered species. Please help us protect these iconic sharks — before it's too late.

To: California Fish and Game Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

We urge you to protect great white sharks by listing the California population on the California Endangered Species List.

The Pacific coast of California, Baja California and Mexico are home to a unique population of great white sharks that are genetically distinct and geographically isolated from all other populations of great white sharks around the world. With estimates of only a few hundred adult and sub-adult individual great white sharks at their primary aggregation sites, the continued existence of great white sharks off California’s coast is at serious risk.

The National Marine Fisheries Service made the wrong decision in not listing great white sharks under the federal Endangered Species Act. California has the opportunity to do the right thing. The State of California has a track record of taking proactive conservation decisions, often leading the rest of the nation. We are relying on you to make the right decision by protecting great white sharks under the California Endangered Species Act, especially in light of the fact that the state of California directly manages the set gillnet fishery, which has been identified as the primary known threat to this low population of white sharks.

Not only will an Endangered Species listing be critical in effectively addressing the continued bycatch of great white sharks and other threats through deliberate, reasonable management measures, but it will also provide a gateway for more research and monitoring to better understand and manage this important population of apex predators.

Our ocean needs great white sharks. As top ocean predators, great white sharks play a critical top-down role in structuring the marine ecosystem by regulating prey populations of seals and sea lions. The presence of great white sharks ultimately keeps the ocean food web in balance and increases the species diversity of our California Current ocean ecosystem.

We urge you to protect great white sharks by listing the California population on the state Endangered Species List.


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