White shark (Carcharodon carcharias) COSEWIC assessment and status report: chapter 1

Assessment Summary

Assessment Summary – April 2006

Common name: White shark – Atlantic population

Scientific name: Carcharodon carcharias

Status: Endangered

Reason for designation:
The species is globally distributed in sub-tropical and temperate waters, but absent from cold polar waters; hence Atlantic and Pacific populations in Canada are isolated from each other and are considered separate designatable units. This very large apex predator is rare in most parts of its range, but particularly so in Canadian waters, which represent the northern fringe of its distribution. There are only 32 records over 132 years for Atlantic Canada. No abundance trend information is available for Atlantic Canada. Numbers have been estimated to have declined by about 80% over 14 years (less than one generation) in areas of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean outside of Canadian waters. The species is highly mobile, and individuals in Atlantic Canada are likely seasonal migrants belonging to a widespread Northwest Atlantic population; hence the status of the Atlantic Canadian population is considered to be the same as that of the broader population. Additional considerations include the long generation time (~23 years) and low reproductive rates (estimated gestation is 14 months and average fecundity is 7 live-born young) of this species, which limit its ability to withstand losses from increase in mortality rates. Bycatch in the pelagic long line fishery is considered to be the primary cause of increased mortality.

Occurrence: Atlantic Ocean

Status history: Designated Endangered in April 2006.  Assessment based on a new status report.

 

Assessment Summary – April 2006

Common name: White shark – Pacific population

Scientific name: Carcharodon carcharias

Status: Data Deficient

Reason for designation: The species is globally distributed in sub-tropical and temperate waters, but absent from cold polar waters; hence Atlantic and Pacific populations in Canada are isolated from each other and are considered separate designatable units. This very large apex predator is rare in most parts of its range, but particularly so in Canadian waters, which represent the northern fringe of its distribution. There are only 14 records over 43 years for the Pacific coast of Canada. No abundance trend information is available for Pacific Canadian waters, or for adjacent waters in the United States that would permit a status designation.

Occurrence: Pacific Ocean

Status history: Species considered in April 2006 and placed in the Data Deficient category. Assessment based on a new status report.

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