Tuesday, August 10, 2010

White sharks making a comeback off California, expert says

Outdoor reporter Peter Thomas surprised us this week with his latest expose on sharks.White sharks and growing population numbers off the California coast.

Rising shark numbers? Appearntly so.

From Peter Thomas Outdoors:

It might come as unwelcome news to swimmers and surfers, but great white sharks appear to be mounting a comeback off California.

"I think there are more sharks," Christopher Lowe, a professor at Cal State Long Beach and director of the university's Shark Lab, said during an exclusive phone interview. "And that's not a bad thing; it's a good thing."

It's the first declaration by a prominent shark researcher that a recovery of the embattled great white shark -- the world's most notorious predator -- seems to be occurring.

A longstanding statewide ban on fishing for white sharks, an increased survival rate among young white sharks because of fishing gear restrictions, and an expanding sea lion population as a prey source are chief reasons for the comeback.

Lowe, who has performed extensive tagging of juvenile white sharks off Southern California and has pored over data dating back generations, said personal observations and increased incidental catch rates of small white sharks by commercial fishermen help support his contention.

Salvador Jorgensen, leader of the white shark research team at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station, did not disagree with Lowe's assessment but was more guarded when asked for a response.

Complete story.

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