In what could be termed as an encouraging result of the human effort, scientists have found that the population of great white sharks is surging in the ocean off the Eastern US and Canada after decades of decline.
The positive finding has been made in the study which was conducted by the scientists at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The scientists have called the report as one of the most comprehensive studies of these notoriously elusive fish.
The scientists say the population of the white sharks has climbed since about 2000 in the western North Atlantic.
According to the study, white shark abundance in the western North Atlantic declined by an estimated 73 percent from the early 1960s to the 1980s. Shark abundance is now only 31 percent down from its historical high estimate in 1961, the report states. The report does not provide a local estimate for the great white shark population, which some scientists say is between 3,000 and 5,000 animals.
According to the study, the massive conservation efforts, such as a federal 1997 act that prevented hunting of great whites, and greater availability of prey are responsible for the remarkable results.
The species is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Author Cami McCandless said, “The species appears to be recovering. This tells us the management tools appear to be working.”
Sharks are facing maximum level of threat in the areas of Red Sea and the Indo-Pacific Biodiversity Triangle, a recent study published in the journal eLife showed. The study has revealed that millions of sharks are being killed every year. If their slaughter is not checked on time, they will soon lead to extinction in the coming years. Besides, the study also expresses the need for urgent global action in the islands of Sulawesi, Sumatra, Borneo, Java and the Gulf of Thailand.
According to the experts, sharks are the biggest predator in the sea and their loss would be very devastating for the aquatic ecosystem.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group (SSG) is leaving no stone unturned to protect the shark populations. The experts have also urged governments to create awareness programmes so that fishing of the most endangered species could be prohibited.
Experts say the sharks are ecologically critical but they are apex predators as they top the food chain and help control the populations of other species.
“You should be concerned for a good reason. We need these sharks in our waters,” said James Sulikowski, a professor of marine science at the University of New England in Portland.
Sulikowski, who was not involved in the study, noted that more awareness could help better target future conservation efforts for great whites.
It was published this month in the journal PLOS ONE.