Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), or yan’-tr’ee-nash in the Tolowa language, are a common shark in local waters, though sightings are rare.
They are the largest predatory fish on Earth, growing up to 20 ft. in length and weighing up to 5,000 pounds. More commonly Females measure 15 – 16 ft. and males measure 11 – 13 ft. They are estimated to live as long as 70 years, making them one of the longest-lived cartilaginous fishes currently known.
Scientists predict the Great White population is decreasing rapidly. These sharks are in danger from being hunted by humans, as well as overfishing depleting their food supply. They are classified as vulnerable—one step away from endangered—by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Movies such as Jaws paint Great Whites as bloodthirsty mindless predators on the prowl for human prey. This is completely untrue–shark attacks are rare and few are fatal. In 2020 there were 57 documented unprovoked shark attacks (for all species) with 10 unprovoked fatalities. Considering the millions of people who go into the ocean every year, this is a minuscule number. For comparison, an estimated 100 million sharks are killed by humans per year. This figure, converted into hours, amounts to 11,416 sharks killed worldwide every hour. Unprovoked attacks most often occur when Great Whites, a naturally curious fish, decide to “taste test” an unknown object. They typically release humans immediately. Many people only suffer moderate injuries from a shark attack.
National Geographic, Yearly Worldwide Shark Attack Summary, Great white shark–Wikipedia
Elias Levy, fideodeloeste, and www.travelbag.co.uk on Flickr.