8 of the World's Most Endangered Sharks

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When considering sharks, it's important to keep the numbers in perspective.

There have been 2,251 shark attacks on humans since 1580, according to the International Shark Attack File. Every year, however, an estimated 100 million sharks are killed by people. Sought out as a delicacy in many places around the world, sharks are caught by commercial and sport fishermen, often with little oversight.

This means that the human impact on sharks has been significant. The UN estimates that some species have been depleted by 90 percent and depletion of 70 percent are common.

It's time for humans to get over our fears and take a close look at the species we've hunted to the brink of extinction.

Great White Shark

The great white shark is the largest known predatory fish in the ocean—and for marine mammals, a primary predator. Its size and dominance is infamous but as compelling as the idea of the great white is, relatively little is known about the species.

For decades, scientists struggled to complete a reliable census of the populations, but the shark's long period between juvenile stages and sexual reproduction led many experts to believe the great white was particularly vulnerable to fishing.

In March, a new surveying method estimated a total of 219 individuals off the coast of Northern California—which is one of only three major populations in the world.

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Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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