Great white sharks are among the most fearsome predators swimming through our ocean; they are called apex predators because they are on top of the food chain. However, even though they are in a class with orcas, they are still valuable to various threats made by humans.
As a result, the population of great white sharks has dwindled down over the years, and if this continues, they might long be forgotten if people aren’t reducing the threats these sharks face. So, if you want to learn why great white sharks are endangered, you have come to the right spot as we will be listing down some major threats to their kinds.
About Great White Sharks
As we’ve mentioned earlier, sharks are the top predator of the ocean, and they are in the same category as orcas. They are usually found in coastal waters across the globe. The great white shark is considered to be the largest predatory fish in the ocean. On average, they can grow as much as 15 feet in length and weigh as much as 5 tons.
However, there are also great whites that can exceed this measurement; it is also reported that there are great whites that reached 20 feet in length and weighed around the north of 8 tons. One of their distinct features is having a subtle gray coloring on top of their body and white underbellies.
Despite their intimidating appearance, they are fast swimmers thanks to their powerful tails and torpedo-like body. Great white sharks also have a habit of breaching, a talent in which they can propel themselves out of the water and back into the ocean.
Their diet consists primarily of shark species that are smaller than them, crustaceans, mollusks, sea birds, and even seals. What makes them fearsome predators is due to their 300 serrated teeth, which makes tearing meat parts as easy as they can be.
Now that you’ve learned something about great whites, it is now the perfect time to know what are the reasons why great white sharks are endangered.
Reasons Why Great White Sharks Are Endangered
There are multiple reasons why great white sharks are endangered.
Bycatching is the accidental killing of great whites when fishing for other fishes. Great whites become entangled and even choked in fishing lines and nets. They are often mistaken as sea bass and halibut and are mistakenly caught from the ocean. It is like great white swimming peacefully in the ocean, and suddenly some random ship throws their fishing line and boom, the great white is caught.
Although some fishermen release them if they are lucky enough, some great whites may leave the line unscathed, whereas, for the unlucky ones, more likely than not, they will be injured in the process. Bycatching is the biggest reason why shark numbers have been on the decline in recent years.
Commercial or private fishing of great whites is considered illegal in most parts of the world. Sadly, there are still people who refuse to go down as the lure of bog money awaits for these apex predators. Some people fish great whites as a bragging right, while some serve to gain money. On the other hand, some fishermen who aren’t well educated with these creatures think that killing these creatures makes the ocean a safer place to live and swim.
Furthermore, one of the most sought-after byproducts of great whites is their fins; it is one of the reasons why great whites are being fished. The very popular shark fins soup will cost you around $100 just to taste one. Imagine if this delicacy makes its way to the United States and Europe, the demand for great whites and other species of sharks goes astronomically high.
All species of sharks thrive when their ecosystem and the habitat that leave-in is healthy. However, with the constant coral bleaching and global warming, this took a turn even when some viable places to find food have been damaged. If a body of water no longer provides the food source that a shark needs, it will migrate to a new one. This means they will be travelling/migrating to a far more ideal location.
As a result, in this typical area, the large concentration of sharks will be negative as there will be competition for food. As a result, some sharks will stay, some will be preyed upon, some will look for a better location, and others will leave and hope they find a food source.
Also, it doesn’t help either as sharks are quite slow to reach their maturity, and it takes some time for them to reproduce. Finally, it doesn’t help either as only a few only survive and reach adulthood as they face some of these threats early in their lives.
Great White Shark Conservation
Ever since the shark numbers plummeted, some countries have made a concerted effort to protect these apex predators. Laws are passed to make fishing great whites illegal across the globe. Although this is a good sign, people continue to fish these species for money and livelihood.
The Great white sharks are listed as ‘vulnerable’ by IUCN or the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This paved the way for great white numbers to increase gradually over the years. Although the increase was not what they hoped it would be, it is quite promising, to say the least.
Are great white sharks endangered? Great whites are still considered vulnerable. However, over the years, various organizations have helped great white numbers to increase slowly. It showcases how humanity is doing to help preserve and protect these creatures of the ocean.
According to various reports, their numbers are steadily rising; this means that human activities involving preserving sharks have made a positive impact. If they can do this for years to come, then their numbers are on the horizon. We, as individual people, should educate young minds on helping these creatures to achieve the numbers they once were. All signs lead to a good ending.
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