According to a six year study by the Stellenbosch University, South Africa's great white sharks are heading for possible extinction. The study of the country's coastal waters, the largest field research study on South Africa's great white sharks undertaken to date, concluded that only 353 to 522 great white sharks remain. This is 52% fewer than what was estimated in previous studies. The main reasons for the sharp decline in white shark numbers are the impact of shark nets and baited hooks implemented on the eastern seaboard of South Africa. Other contributing factors are poaching, habitat encroachment, pollution and depletion of their food sources.
The reseachers also found that the South African population of great white sharks is made up of an effective population size of only 333 individuals. The effective population size is the number of individuals in a population who contribute offspring to the next generation.
An integrated mark-recapture and genetic approach to estimate the population size of white shark in South Africa