Starting March 1, great white sharks will be protected under the California Endangered Species Act, making it illegal to hunt, pursue, or kill the majestic fish anywhere off the California coast. Environmental groups began petitioning for the sharks’ status at the beginning of February, claiming their diminished numbers merited protection. Estimates place their Northwest Pacific population around 340.
Commercial fishing of the ocean’s most magnificent predator has been banned off the California coast for 20 years, but exceptions still exist for research purposes. Under the new protections, researchers will have to obtain new permits from the Fish and Wildlife Department to study the perfectly constructed killing machines.
Fish and Wildlife will conduct a status review of the silvery sea gods in 2014 to determine whether the entire species should be labeled as endangered.