Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
The white shark is listed as vulnerable and migratory under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
EPBC Act Status and Documents - Carcharodon carcharias — Great White Shark
Australian Government Action
The White Shark Recovery Plan was developed in accordance with the guidelines for the compilation of recovery plans under the EPBC Act. This Plan sets out recovery objectives and actions to achieve those objectives.
The white shark is protected internationally through a number of mechanisms. The white shark is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) and also on Appendices I and II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). These conventions limit trade and help reduce the number of sharks killed through commercial and recreational fishing activities.
- CITES - Appendix II listing of the Great White Shark (revision 1)
- CITES - Appendix III listing of the Great White Shark including identification guide
Biology and ecology
White sharks are large, rare, warm-blooded apex marine predators. It is estimated that they mature at 12-18 years for females and 8-10 years for males. Maximum length is 6.4 metres, though specimens of up to 7 metres may exist. White sharks reproduce only once every two to three years and produce between two and ten pups per litter.
The white shark is widely distributed throughout temperate and sub-tropical regions in the northern and southern hemispheres. It is most frequently found off southern Australia, South Africa, northern California and the north-eastern United States. In Australian waters the white shark's range extends primarily from southern Queensland, around the southern coastline and to the North West Cape in Western Australia.
Population status and trends
Despite a general scarcity of data on the white shark's population size and population trends, there appears to be an overall, long-term decline in abundance of white sharks in Australian and international waters. Evidence for this decline in Australia comes from game fishing records and the shark control programs run in New South Wales and Queensland. For example, the NSW shark control program caught a total of 151 white sharks in the 1950's as compared to only 44 in the 1990's. Similar declines are also evident in the Queensland program.
The main threats faced by white sharks in Australian waters are from interactions with commercial and recreational fisheries and shark control programs.
- Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) - Appendix II Listing of the White Shark (revision 1) - September 2004
- Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) - Appendix III Listing of the White Shark including identification manual - 2001
- Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) CITES identification sheet - September 2007
- Identifying movements and habitats of white sharks and grey nurse sharks - June 2005
- Site fidelity, residence times and home range patterns of white sharks around pinniped colonies - June 2005
- Spatial dynamics and habitat preferences of juvenile white sharks: identifying critical habitat and options for monitoring recruitment: final report June 2008 - 2008
- Trial DNA testing of shark products imported into and exported from Australia to detect the presence of Great White Shark - May 2005
- White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) Recovery Plan - 2013