Population analysis of Carcharodon carcharias in localized areas surrounding South Africa using dorsal fin identification
The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is a marine apex predator with a global distribution. In recent years, the number of white sharks has drastically declined as a consequence of anthropogenic activities such as illegal/targeted fishing, bycatch, and habitat disruption. Until recently, research on sharks has been lacking, resulting in an information gap on shark populations. This study aims to analyze the current population distribution of white sharks in the wild, to fill the research gap on white shark data, and to use this information to inform policies makers for improvements in white shark conservation measures. White shark population distribution between Gansbaai, Struisbaai/De Hoop, Mossel Bay, and Algoa Bay, South Africa, will be estimated using dorsal fin identification, in which dorsal fin photos taken of sharks encountered in the area will be organized into a coded database for matching the presence of the same animals in different areas. The anticipated outcome of this study is an indication of the population dispersal along the South African coastline, to promote knowledge based improvement of existing marine conservation and fishing management strategies.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ross Shaw
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