The dire situation facing the South African great white shark has made headlines this week. According to researcher Sara Andreotti from the department of botany and zoology at Stellenbosch University, if the government doesn’t soon address import and export regulations, the great white shark is heading for extinction.
According to Andreotti there are only between 353 and 522 great white sharks left in South African waters. The primary cause of the decline? Poaching for shark jaws which can sell for up to $1 million, as well as fins for fin soup, a delicacy in parts of Asia.
“The numbers in South African are extremely low. If the situation stays the same, South Africa’s great white sharks are heading for possible extinction,” says Andreotti, adding that it is illegal to catch great white sharks as they are a protected species.
Andreotti said that the Environmental Affairs Ministry must improve the regulations protecting and managing fish species.
“The survival of South Africa’s white shark population and the ecological interactions of the coastline will be seriously compromised if urgent management measures to prevent the decline are not put in place,” says Andreotti