by Staff Writers
Johannesburg (AFP) July 20, 2016
South Africa's great white sharks face the threat of extinction after a rapid decline in numbers caused by trophy hunting, shark nets and pollution, according to a study released Wednesday.
The six-year research project along the country's coastline revealed that only between 353 and 522 of the sharks are still alive, half the level previously thought.
"The numbers in South Africa are extremely low. If the situation stays the same, South Africa's great white sharks are heading for possible extinction," said study author and Stellenbosch University researcher Sara Andreotti.
Scientists conducted the census by collecting biopsy samples and photographs of dorsal fins of the great predators, including in the Gansbaai area, near Cape Town, a hotspot for shark cage diving.
"We have come to the conclusion that South Africa's white sharks faced a rapid decline in the last generation and that their numbers might already be too low to ensure their survival," said Andreotti.
The study published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series also blamed shark nets, ocean pollution and baited hooks on the eastern seaboard of South Africa for the dwindling numbers.
"The chances for their survival are even worse than what we previously thought," said Andreotti.
About 333 of the sharks are thought to be capable of breeding.
Although the great whites population has dropped off South Africa, the report said the sharks were still found in large numbers off the coast of Canada, Australia and the United States.
The South African coast is notorious for shark attacks, with regular cases of deadly mauling of surfers and swimmers.
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|