“CAPE TOWN – Fewer than 500 great white sharks remain along South Africa’s coastline.
Stellenbosch University researchers say the apex predators face possible extinction.
Using genetic and photographic methods, researchers have tracked down the entire population — and they are worried about the low numbers.
Poaching, pollution and excessive use of shark nets in public waters have been cited as leading contributors.
Shark jaws and fins are sold for millions of rands, and researchers say protection, increased regulation and fewer nets would benefit the species.
“Our white sharks are in danger, there are very few left. So we’re trying very hard to get the nets out of the ocean,” said Stellenbosch University professor Conrad Matthee.
“But it’s a complicated issue because the nets also provide a false sense of security towards humans – they think because there are nets there won’t be shark attacks, therefore the tourism industry is booming.”
Without the predators in our waters, the entire ocean eco-system could fall off kilter.”