Dateline 13th June 2013
Scientists working for the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) have just published the first regional estimate of white shark populations using dorsal fin ID and automated software. White sharks have unique dorsal fins and over 20,000 side on shots of fins were taken between 2007-2011. A computerised fin recognition programme called 'Darwin' has taken three years to identify individual sharks and the results are causing great concern. Only 532 sharks were identified. Another programmed called 'Mark' extrapolated the population to be between 808 and 1009. Previously the estimate of the number of white sharks in Gansbaai was 2,000.
The global population of white sharks is thought to be between 3,000 and 5,000. This new study could indicate the figure is half what was previously thought, which brings possible white shark extinction into sharper focus despite being CITES Appendix II listed, and despite being protected in several countries including South Africa, Namibia, USA, Australia, Malta, Croatia, and others.