On Sept. 19, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2109 into law, delivering new protections for white sharks in California waters. White sharks are already a protected species and essential to the ocean ecosystem as top-level predators.
Anglers should note the new rules regarding the take of white sharks go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. These rules prohibit the use of shark bait, shark lures, or shark chum to attract a white shark. Anglers also may not place those things into the water within one nautical mile of any shoreline, pier, or jetty, when a white shark is visible or known to be present.
Sponsored by Assemblymember Steve Bennett, the bill passed the California legislature with the majority supporting it. The new restrictions will get ahead of activities leading to increased interactions between white sharks and humans. In addition, they will give law enforcement more means to protect white sharks from intentional efforts to catch or attract them.
The new law also helps protect the public from interactions with white sharks that fishermen have unintentionally hooked by limiting when and where chum and shark bait can be used while allowing other legal fishing activities to continue.
“Sharks are one of California’s most iconic marine species, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that their populations are sustained,” said Assemblymember Bennett in a.\ press release from Sept. 22. “At the same time, public safety is of the utmost importance.”
For more information about white sharks, please visit CDFW’s White Shark Information webpage, which includes answers to frequently asked questions and shark incident information going back to 1950. Additional questions may be sent to CDFW’s Marine Region via email.