The great white shark that silently swims off California's shores might seem to be the king of the food chain. But the truth is that commercial fishing has brought California's great white shark to the edge of extinction.
A 2011 study shows there are only 350 great white sharks in California's waters. This small, heroic 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 seafood dinners and our ocean's nurseries. Tell the US Marine Fisheries Service to list California's great whites on the endangered species list!
We the undersigned note that the great white shark population off the California coast is biologically unique and irreplaceable. It now appears that this important population of apex predators has plummeted to 350 members of which only 100 are likely to be breeding-age females.
This is terrible news for the fishing industry as a whole. Commercial fishing relies heavily on sharks to control the seals and sea lions that consume vast quantities of seafood. Without the important check on other predators that sharks provide, we are in danger of losing our economically vital seafood industry.
Please list the California great white shark as an endangered species. Its low numbers absolutely warrant immediate protection!
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