These sharks are sparsely distributed and have slow reproduction rates, factors making the population particularly vulnerable and slow to recover from depleted numbers (2). Although the population size is difficult to assess, evidence suggests that their numbers have declined in several areas by up to 90 percent over the last 40 to 100 years (8) (13). Sharks caught either accidentally as bycatch or deliberately targeted are sold for their flesh, skins, oil and fins for shark-fin soup (8). The teeth and jaws of great whites are particularly valuable; a recently recovered specimen was valued at US$ 50,000 (8). Game fishing has increased in popularity recently and the great white is something of a holy grail for enthusiasts due to its great size, powerful resistance to capture, and reputation as the most dangerous fish in the sea (3) (7). Unfortunately, its inquisitive nature and tendency to investigate human activities, as well as to scavenge from fishing gear, makes this shark vulnerable to capture (3). This species is often found close to human settlements and habitat degradation, depletion of prey species, negative attitudes towards the shark, and shark fences to protect bathers further affect population numbers (3) (8). The great white is viewed with fear throughout much of its range, making conservation efforts difficult to initiate, and unwarranted, media-fanned campaigns to kill great whites have even occasionally occurred, following shark attacks or in anticipation of such attacks (3) (8).
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