Great white shark (Credit: Travelbag Ltd, via Flickr)
Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have found that populations of great white sharks are making a comeback off the East Coast, according to USA Today. Sitting at the top of the food chain, the sharks are important for controlling populations of other species.
Study authors note that a period spanning the 1970s of declining great white shark populations has reversed. They added previously unpublished data to existing records to show 649 confirmed shark sightings from 1800 to 2010.
Great white shark numbers reached a high in 1961, researchers say, but then declined by an estimated 73 percent in the western North Atlantic. Populations of the predator fish have since reached levels only 31 percent below the high, showing that protection measures work. Full study results are published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Image: Great white shark (Credit: Travelbag Ltd, via Flickr)