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by February 28, 2013
Commercial fishing has brought California's great white shark to the edge of extinction. Gillnets and driftnets are used to catch fish in great white shark nursing grounds. Young great whites eat primarily fish and get caught in nets seeking fish for food.
A 2011 study shows there are only 350 great white sharks in California's waters. This small, fragile group is biological distinctive from other shark groups around the world and can never be replaced if it is lost. Meanwhile, scientists estimate there are only 100 breeding females. Sharks take ten years to reach reproductive maturity, and they do not breed like rabbits, so the process of recovering a shark population is slow and precarious.
This matters because, as apex predators, sharks protect other fish populations by keeping seal and sea lion populations in balance. Sharks also play a crucial role in protecting barrier reefs. In short, if we lose our sharks, we lose our ocean's nurseries. Tell the US Marine Fisheries Service to list California's great whites on the endangered species list!
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