By: Austin Vilk
Summary: As a result of great white sharks and the species they feed on being protected and thus growing they have expanded in number and also need more space. They have been migrating to more places as they need to for food and shelter and are able to because they aren't affected by cold or warm waters as much as other species. They are however more easily affected by other things, like water pollution, since they are a K-species so they have less offspring and the population is more vulnerable and can decline much easier. In that sense they are a fragile species and still many fishermen have a desire to kill them and the species they feed on due to competition for fish. These thoughts however do not keep in mind how it may affect the rest of the oceans species as well as the plant life in and near the ocean. Not to mention that certain species could grow out of control, or cease to exist as a sort of butterfly effect. Many people are also worried about safety at beaches but at the very least acoustic tracking devices could warn beaches as to when to get out of the water and there have also been other things recommended to fishermen to avoid for the sake of safety. As for the population of great white sharks being tracked it has been something ongoing for over ten years by Dr. Greg Skomal. For every worry there has been measures in place and for good reason as it is suggested that these aren’t record levels for these sharks but rather what used to be normal levels for their population.
Why we should care? Currently the seals that are protected feed on fish which compete with fishermen. While many fishermen don't like that and want to kill them at the same time, I think it would be more important to protect species richness.
I have liked sharks since I was a kid, I have always found them fascinating. So, for me to see them come back to a good population level provides me a certain level of relief to know they won’t disappear any time soon (as long as we continue to protect them as a species). On top of that the ocean is a vast and largely unexplored environment which I would love to see explored more. However, I would argue the ocean can be affected much quicker than on land since everything is connected by water rather than soil which is a denser form of matter.
Science in Action.
Dr. Greg Skomal is an aquarist and Marine Fisheries Biologist and author of many books.
Dr. Skomar is directly cited in the article I have looked at for this subject and has been studying the great white shark migration and their population increase in Massachusetts for over a decade. He has been cited in more than just this one national geographic article on sharks as well so he is academically and professionally acknowledged.