Population of Great White Shark shoots up in Eastern US
According to a new study, the numbers of white sharks are surging in the ocean off the eastern US and Canada after many years of decline.
White sharks experienced a period of stable populations which was followed by decline along the entire American Atlantic coast.
The study, done by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says that the population of the elusive fish has shot up since the year 2000 in the western North Atlantic.
The scientists attribute the resurgence to conservation efforts like the 1997 federal act that prevented hunting of great whites and greater availability of prey too. The species has been listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
They are ecologically critical since this species are apex predators and are at the top of the food chain and aid to control the populations of other species. This includes the gray seal which has a lot of colonies off Massachusetts that have provided food.
The elusive nature of white sharks along with the lack of historical data about the levels of their population made the authors rely on sightings of sharks unlike the other ways to count sea life, such as commercial fishing surveys and census counts.
The abundance of white shark in the North Atlantic declined by 73% from the early 1960s to the 1980s, the report says.
Shark abundance is now only 31% down from its historical high estimate in 1961, the report states. The report does not give a local estimate for the population of the great white shark which, according to some scientists, is between 3,000 and 5,000.
White sharks were found to thrive all along the eastern coast of US all year round. Most of the animals congregated in the northeast between New Jersey and Massachusetts during summer and made their winter homes in Florida.
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