<b>APEX PREDATOR:</b>  With a habitat that spans the globe, the great white shark — seen here in the waters off Isla Guadalupe, Mexico — is only one of about 12 shark species that swim Santa Barbara Channel. Great whites can reach 20 feet in length, weigh up to 5,000 pounds, and have a lifespan of roughly 30 years.

Terry Goss

APEX PREDATOR: With a habitat that spans the globe, the great white shark — seen here in the waters off Isla Guadalupe, Mexico — is only one of about 12 shark species that swim Santa Barbara Channel. Great whites can reach 20 feet in length, weigh up to 5,000 pounds, and have a lifespan of roughly 30 years.

Saving White Sharks

Statewide Protections on Horizon for Toothy Beasts

Monday, June 24, 2013
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Though plenty of us tremble at the thought of a great white shark chomping us during a swim or surf, it’s really the sharks who should be scared of humans, as our society’s practices have played a large role in decimating the species’s populations around the globe. Because of this trend, California decision-makers are considering whether the species should be listed statewide as endangered or threatened, and the state’s recently renamed Department of Fish and Wildlife is now accepting public comments on the plan.

To get a better sense of what that means for the sharks and humans, and why now, the department’s Michelle Horeczko answered a few questions last week over email.

Tell us something fascinating about the white shark.

Female white sharks experience a long breeding process, not only in relation to other sharks and fish, but in comparison with terrestrial mammals as well. Though we are still learning about how this species reproduces, it is agreed upon by most researchers that they experience a gestation period of approximately 18 months. This explains why mature females are only seen at the breeding/aggregation sites every two or three years. A single female can give birth to up to 14 pups at one time, and newborn white sharks are four to five feet long at birth.

It seems like we’ve gone away from the use of great white? Why?

“White Shark” is the official common name accepted by the American Fisheries Society and other scientific organizations for this species. “Great White Shark,” “White Pointer,” and other names are commonly used in vernacular by the English-speaking public globally when referring to this species.

I assume that our fears of the toothy beast far outweigh its actual rate of attacks?

Correct. You are much more likely to be struck by lightning or win a jackpot lottery than attacked by a white shark (or any shark). Since 1950, there have been 101 white shark attacks on humans in all of California. Of those, 13 have now been fatal. Most of these attacks occur in northern California where adult white sharks are seen near shore more often. Only 17 of the 100 shark attacks on humans in California within the past 63-year period have been south of Point Conception.

CDFW has more in depth information on white shark encounters here.

Why is the white shark up now for listing?

The Fish and Game Commission received a petition to list white shark as either threatened or endangered pursuant to CESA in August 2012. The Commission’s decision to accept the petition (the potential concerns raised in the petition met the standard required under state law to be considered for further examination) and declare white shark a candidate species took effect March 1, 2013.

CDFW is conducting an in-depth status review to provide the Commission with information to aid in its decision whether to list the species. The status review is slated for completion by March 2014. As part of the status review process, CDFW is soliciting information that will inform CDFW and the Commission on white shark status, including potential habitat destruction or modification, overexploitation, predation, competition, disease or other natural occurrences or human related activities that may affect the status of white shark.

Information on the CESA listing process, evaluation and the petition can be found here.

What protections would it get?

White sharks are already afforded numerous protections under state law, and take has been strictly prohibited off California since 1994, with some exceptions for scientific research and incidental (un-intentional) take in some commercial fisheries. Under CESA, all take would become prohibited unless authorized on a case-by-case basis by CDFW under special permit, including for research.

California Endangered Species Act (CESA) prohibits the take of listed or candidate or listed species, even if that take is incidental to otherwise lawful activity, unless authorized by permit. As defined in state law, take means “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill.” Anyone who takes a white shark without a permit may be cited for violations of CESA and subject to criminal prosecution.

What new regulations would result? And who might be opposed to those?

If white shark were to become a listed species under the CESA, all take (to hunt, pursue, capture, or kill) would become prohibited, included scientific take and accidental(incidental) take in recreational commercial fisheries. Any take, even non-lethal catch and release take for scientific research, would be illegal unless specifically authorized under special permit by the CDFW under CESA. As part of the candidacy evaluation process, the Fish and Game Commission will hear comments and concerns from scientists and the general public on the implications of listing as part of the CESA candidacy process.

As part of the 12-month evaluation process, the CDFW will present a report to the Fish and Game Commission that may include recommendations for regulatory and management changes. This report is expected to be completed by March 2014.

What’s the chance of a federal listing?

The status of the decision to federally list white shark should be released in July 2013.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

I would hazard to guess that every surfer who lives between Big and Sur and San Diego knows that Surf Beach in Lompoc is "sharky." Therefore, all who choose to enter that water do so at their own risk. Secondly, it is highly unlikely that a human victim of a white shark attack would see the shark before he or she was attacked, so there is not much anyone can do to "defend" oneself. Finally, white sharks range widely in waters that have cool water temperatures above 50 degrees and below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. So any of us who surf or swim in the ocean offshore Santa Barbara County, no matter where, are accepting some amount of risk. Whether or not the white shark deserves protection, I don't possess the scientific knowledge sufficient to judge. The process outlined is intended to make that determination. I believe that we should let the scientists hash it out.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 10:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

While I think hunting them shouldn't be allowed, I feel these fish have enough protections already as their dinner is given free health care when one even washes up on the beach sick. The seals, sea lions etc..marine mammals are coddled around here so there are more and more of them and thus a quite substantial shark food supply. Unfortunately, I have a feeling there will be more run in's with these sharks around here even it if it is a mistake by the shark.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 10:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The larger the seal population, the larger the shark population.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 11:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

They've been protected against take by any sort of recreational fishing for years. All this adds is take for scientific reasons without a special permit, and bycatch by commerical fishermen.

cycleboy (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 11:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Perfect article for tourist season.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 11:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Dude/tte, not everything is a conspiracy.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 11:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The topic of psychology is one you should explore.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 11:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

We can try facts and logic again if you'd like, but you didn't seem to cotton to them.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 11:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Imagining things isn't the same as knowing them spiritwalker. You and the other clown set yourself up as experts on every topic and are continually debunked!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 12:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The larger the seal population, the larger the shark population.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 11:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Then you weighed in with your asshattery.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 12:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Going through a process to ensure that human activity does not result in the extinction of a species is very different from promoting safety at Surf Beach in Lompoc. I seriously doubt that any policy regarding white sharks would make Surf Beach a safer or less safe place to swim and surf. In fact, if we really want to make Surf Beach safer, we might change the name to Shark Beach and install educational signs that warn people that there have been a number of white shark attacks there and that they enter the water at their own risk. Notice Spiritwalker that I am not suggesting we control anyone with regulations, simply give the beach a more appropriate name and provide educational postings.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 12:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Any time we try to control animal populations, things get out of whack.

Save all the pinnipeds because they are cute, and there's lot of shark food around. We put ourselves in increased danger.

Kill all the rattlesnakes because they are scary, and enjoy the rodent population bloom that infests everything.

Examples abound. How about letting nature take its course. It's hard to see a cute sea lion dying on a beach, but saving it upsets the balance in some small way.

cycleboy (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 1:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ok, "spiritwalker" - enough now. Do you really think we should be concerned about being thrown in jail if we "take" a white shark while trying to "defend human life?" Really?

Here's what would have to happen for that scenario to occur:

You are swimming (or wading, floating, surfing, whatever) and you actually see the shark before it takes a chunk out of you. Then, before it has the chance to take a bite (which is how they feed) or while it is taking a bite of you (or someone else for that matter), you are somehow able to kill or "take" this shark. Well, unless you swim/surf/float with an elephant gun or other similar-sized cannon, this will NEVER happen.

If it does, then you probably should be prosecuted for swimming with a loaded weapon (I imagine that would be a crime).

Other than that, killing a shark in defense of your life would be pretty darn impossible. Or, are you the type that believes we should "pre-emptively" strike? In that case, it would be murder plain and simple.

Make sense?

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 1:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

gee I wonder what the difference between a 60 ton whale and a 300 pound shark is.. hmm.. does one maybe move faster than the other.. have more surface area? Different breathing requirements..? Hmm I hope someone figures out this mystery before July.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 1:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Duh is right! People should so totally not be fined for harassing great whites! So lame, huh? Whatever! for sure.

Yeah, and then for the adults here - if you can harass a great white shark, then more power to you! That means you literally have lightning-like reflexes.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 2:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Just to rest your worried mind, you are TOTALLY within your rights to fight back with all your might when an 800 pound great white has you in its jaws. Poke it's eyes, punch it's nose, hit it in the gills - these are all ways to disorient and frighten the shark. Go for it! You will NOT be prosecuted.

Now, on the other hand, if you think you should be allowed to hunt down sharks because they pose a threat to swimmers, well then, that my friend is illegal and for good reason.

So yes, you do have a right to fight back if you are being attacked. NOTHING in the new regulation would prohibit that.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 2:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Some tourists to West Beach caught this horrifying footage last Fall

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 2:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, you're like the energizer rabbit, huh? Again, NO LAW IS BEING PASSED PROHIBITING YOU FROM FIGHTING BACK.

In other words, there is not any new law or laws being passed that would make you a criminal just for fighting back during a shark attack. Does that make sense? You can punch and kick your little heart out if you are being attacked by ANY wild animal - even a freakin' bald eagle!

Just a recap: No new law has been (or will be) enacted that would prohibit you from defending yourself during an attack.


sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 2:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Fishnets would be an example of "incidental taking". Fishnets are a fairly new invention, only around a few millenia so it's not surprising that some commentators are unfamiliar with them.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 2:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Tedious? No. Educated in the law and precise? Yes.

A "taking" is a killing. So, yes, you would be prosecuted if you incidentally killed a great white shark (commercial bycatch, etc).

You cannot kill a great white shark with your bare hands. Trust me, you CANNOT do it. So, your rabid fear of prosecution in the event that you are trying to defend yourself during an attack? TOTALLY IRRATIONAL. It will NEVER happen. Understand? Good.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 2:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There might be a glacier.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 3:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Spiritwalker - have you read the actual legislation or just what this article says about the law? Do you know what a "taking" is? Do you understand the legal concepts of "mitigating circumstances" or "self defense" or "proximate cause" or the myriad of other sitational terms you must be familiar with to understand what you're talking about? The answer is clearly "NO."

I'm done responding to this lunacy.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 3:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I wonder how truly invested Moon Unit Zappa is in this conversation/debate or if is more about the spirit of a good fight with CAPITAL LETTERS. Does this signify shouting? or lunacy or both?

So what about shark nets to keep the sharks OUT? Conversely what if a western snowy plover landed on your face and started gouging out your eye?

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 3:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What a piece of work. Are you for real?

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 3:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

But the sharks and the toenail are real!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 3:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Really! I'd be more concerned about spiritwalker's diseased toenails than a great white shark!

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 3:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Might be contagious!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 3:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Already said and now exhausted by infantile logic.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 4:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And nary a word about the land shark.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 4:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I replaced cable with reading spiritwalker.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 7:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Spiritwalker, I will try one more time to understand your argument. You are apparently arguing against the protection of the white shark on grounds of self defense. If I am wrong about my understanding of your argument, please correct me. However, no white shark human policy could protect humans who choose to enter the ocean from white shark attacks except a policy that intentionally hunts and kills white sharks at an intense level. It is not possible to defend yourself against a white shark attack since you would never see the shark that attacks you before you are bitten. While that bite is not always (and in fact, if you look at he data, not usually fatal), I guarantee that it will take the fight out of you. Survivors of white shark bites survive because the white shark really does not want to eat humans (something about the bone/fat ratio). Those who die are bitten once and bleed out in minutes. Those who live are bitten and don't bleed out before they received medical attention. Protecting the white shark or not protecting the white shark would have no affect whatsoever on shark attacks and deaths from shark attacks. So what exactly are you all worked up about?

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 7:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The only white sharks I'm afraid of are the ones that cruise up and down Wall St.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 9:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I suppose you expect some snarky comment from me. Right?

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 10:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What porpoise would it serve?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 24, 2013 at 11:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OK, this is getting a bit silly, especially the last two comments.

As for the subject at hand, messing with the balance of nature could have some very dire consequences.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 6:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

i agree with billc about flipper ant comments.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 7:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

spiritwalker-I don't think it is your point that is mistaken-The White Shark does not need added protection. Fine, I think many of us agree. It is just the crappy jackass antagonistic tone you take with everyone. Talk about passive AGGRESSIVE. You must have a fabulous personal life.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 9:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Spiritwalker is a dope.

Killing sharks is stupid. Period.

Riceman (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 9:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Spiritwalker does not have to be an expert in great white sharks to make the claim that they are not threatened or endangered. The real experts cannot even agree on this. The only great white shark census was conducted in northern CA near the Farallon Islands and Bodega Bay several years back. Based on some modeling and the highly scrutinized assumption that these sharks live in a closed population, they determined that they population is very small (I think it was around 250?). Others claim that the population is much larger (2000+) and are currently investigating this claim.

The bottom line is that GWS are very tough to study. It's not like counting birds or elephants. So an accurate assessment would be hard to come by. I think they should be able to figure out if the population is growing or shrinking which could help with the decision. What if a disease hits (think abalone)? 250 or 2000+ is still not a very large population. I think the bigger issue at hand is protecting this species because people fear them and want to kill things that they fear. They are also an umbrella species, so by protecting them (eg no gill netting), they can protect many other species.

laxer (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 10:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey spirit - have you read the legislation? Do you know for a fact that there are "no exceptions?" No. You are just making assumptions based on what was reported here about a proposed law. EVERY law has exceptions - some that are spelled out specifically in the legislation and some that are implicit from judicial precedence

Now stop it.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 10:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This article isn't the law; it's a brief look at the law to inform people and it's assumed people are able to do their own research into the fine details and then freak out, not freak out pre-emptively.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 11:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Spiritwalker - Yes, we are discussing the article but you are hell-bent on insisting the actual legislation doesn't contain ANY exceptions. Now shut the f*ck up and listen to me.

Just because the article in a local newspaper doesn't cite any specific exceptions does not mean the lengthy and complex legislation as written does not contain the exceptions. Laws without exceptions DO NOT get passed.

Don't get mad at me - it's just the way it is pal.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 11:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, if you're dumb enough to consider an article in a weekly newspaper as "the law" then I wish you luck.

I'm done trying to explain common sense.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 12:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Spiritwalker. I suggest you email the author to make sure that your assumptions are correct. Hopefully the author can clarify and not leave the readers to speculate. I doubt they will spend the time reading these 66 responses and respond.

laxer (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 12:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Spiritwalker, have you looked at the actual law besides just this brief run down of it? Do your neighbors complain about yelling and clanging pots and pans at all hours?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 12:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Just for the record - implicit exceptions are exactly that. They are implicit and, therefore, not written. Stupid? Yup.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 12:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, then you are clearly right. Bravo idjit! Spiritwalker has decreed this article to be Federal Law.

See, we don't need legislators....we've got Spiritwalker.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 1:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The article is apparently not clear because it does not mention this

An exception in writing in the recommendations section of the petition:
"Hard limits on the incidental capture of white sharks in California and U.S. fisheries (particularly the set gillnet and drift gillnet fisheries occurring in the Southern California Bight), including sufficient observer coverage to accurately estimate and enforce such limits;"

This is about the gillnet fisheries that got an exemption from the 1994 law that banned any killing (intentional or incidental). The new law would limit, not ban, any killing of sharks by incidental catch.

laxer (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 1:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Killing sharks is just plain dumb.

Almost approaching the level of idiocy displayed by the internet troll Spiritwalker. I mean Sleepwalker.

Riceman (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 1:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Spirit - you have absolutely lost your simple mind. Your arguments are so disjointed and devolved, I can't even follow what you are trying to say anymore.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 1:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Somebody jumped the shark and just keeps jumping.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 1:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

i b'lieve we all know what tedious is now.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 2:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

don't give 'em anymore time, sacjon, s/he's in other troll-infested worlds...invoking Godwin's Law here...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 2:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan, don't worry I'm done. But I did google Godwin's Law - interesting!

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 3:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Damn! I'm busted! You got me! I really work for the Association for Shark Security and Homeland Activity Taskforce (A.S.S.H.A.T.)

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 4:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

no one wondered, spiritwalker! If the conversation is "asinine" in your words, then with your 26 of the 80 posts [and over 60% of the verbiage] you're a self-described ass, which like Balaam's, just keeps braying.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 4:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

did you say EdHat or AssHat?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 4:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Spiritwalker. The word salads you toss up are 100% meaningless.

My factual content in 8 words is on a par with your fascinating rainbow wanderings.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 4:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I actually started laughing out loud.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 7:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You are 100% batsh@t crazy.

sacjon (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 7:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow this really did get nuttier. Gotta be a put on...

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2013 at 7:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It will be an outrage if ANY Veteran for Peace (or ANYONE for Peace) is excluded from the Fourth of July parade.

alalmel (anonymous profile)
June 26, 2013 at 12:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Holy moly they're coming after spiritwalker: Great-white-shark-lifts-kayak-out-of-water-in-santa-barbara

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 30, 2013 at 1:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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