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Seasonal occurrence of the white shark, Carcharodon carcharias in waters off the Florida West Coast, with notes on its life history
Adams, D.H.; Mitchell, M.E.; Parsons, G.R. (1994). Seasonal occurrence of the white shark, Carcharodon carcharias in waters off the Florida West Coast, with notes on its life history. Mar. Fish. Rev. 56(4): 24-28
In: Marine Fisheries Review. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Seattle, Wash.. ISSN 0090-1830, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Adams, D.H.
  • Mitchell, M.E.
  • Parsons, G.R.

    The white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, is typically found in cold and warm-temperate waters throughout the world, although occurrences in tropical waters have been documented (Compagno, 1984). In the western North Atlantic Ocean, the species is most commonly encountered in continental shelf waters from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras (Casey and Pratt, 1985). The white shark is considered rare south of Cape Hatteras and in the Gulf of Mexico (Castro, 1983), although the species is encountered by both commercial and recreational fishermen in these regions.White sharks caught by commercial longline vessels operating in Florida waters are often sold in a small but lucrative market, primarily for their jaws. The high value of white shark jaws and meat has encouraged "erratic spot fisheries" in New York, California, South Africa, and South Australia (Compagno, 1990). Commercial longline fishermen and seafood dealers on Florida's west coast report that demand for white shark jaws has increased since the late 1980's. The jaws from white sharks collected in Florida waters can sell for up to several thousand dollars in unprepared condition for a large, high-quality set, while fully prepared jaws may yield double that price(1). A similar market for targeted and incidentally caught white sharks in California waters prompted recent legislation (California Assembly Bill 522, effective 1 January 1994) which restricts landings to prevent white sharks from becoming overfished by commercial and recreational fisheries.Due to its apparent rarity or low encounter rate in the Gulf of Mexico, very little biological data has been published on the white shark from this region, and verified records are scarce. In this study we will 1) review historical reports of the occurrence of the white shark off the west coast of Florida, 2) include recent verified records from this area, 3) present evidence of seasonal (winter/spring) occurrence in the region, and 4) provide selected life-history data.

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