KABC-TV reports that the California Fish and Game Commission has voted unanimously to advance the candidacy of the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) as a potential endangered species. The status review will last for one year and will grant the species the same protections as a listed endangered species during the review period.
It is already illegal to target and harvest white sharks in California. The candidacy status will also make incidental catch of the species illegal in state waters.
The commission vote followed a petition from Oceana to protect the subspecies of white sharks along the California coast. According to the KABC-TV report, state researchers hope to get a more accurate estimate of population numbers during the review and will assess threats to the species. The commission will use the information gathered from the review to make an “informed decision” on whether to list the species as endangered under California law.
The great white shark is currently listed as “vulnerable” globally on the IUCN Red List.