The Los Angeles Times reports that environmental activists are urging the United States government to add great white sharks to the endangered species list. In recent years, the population of great whites in the northeast Pacific Ocean has been declining. There are currently believed to be only 340 adult great whites off the coast of California, possibly due to various fishing practices. Environmental groups, including Oceana, a group that works to protect ocean life, the Center for Biological Diversity, and a group called the Shark Stewards, created a petition on the matter for government review.
Those involved in the petition note that these great white sharks are genetically distinct from those in other areas, making their steep population decline a threat to the unique breed's survival. Young great white sharks off the coast of California contain the second-highest amount of mercury of all sharks worldwide, according to Ashley Blacow, a communications coordinator for Oceana. They also carry contaminants, such as PCB and DDT, in their livers