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Journal of Marine Biology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 598745, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/598745
Research Article

Occurrence of White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in Hawaiian Waters

1Pelagic Fisheries Research Program, Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1000 Pope Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
2Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA

Received 27 August 2012; Revised 6 March 2013; Accepted 7 March 2013

Academic Editor: E. A. Pakhomov

Copyright © 2013 Kevin Weng and Randy Honebrink. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

White sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) have been known in Hawaii (~158°W, 22°N) since the time of ancient Hawaiians. We compiled sightings and records from 1926 to the present (4 females, 2 males, and 8 unknown sex; 3.3–4.5 m total length) and compared them with satellite tracking records (7 females, 9 males, and 6 unknown; 3.7–5.3 m total length). White sharks have been sighted in Hawaii throughout the year, whereas satellite tracking studies show individuals near the North American coast during fall and offshore during spring for the eastern North Pacific population (northern fall/spring). The mismatch of these datasets could hypothetically be consistent with fall-sighted individuals being sourced from a different population or part of a resident population. However, recently documented multiyear movements of North American sharks revealed that the annual nearshore-offshore pattern does not hold for mature females, which ranged over larger areas and were offshore during the fall. We found that fall white shark sightings in Hawaii are predominantly of females, most likely visitors from the eastern North Pacific population. Misidentification of other species as white sharks frequently occurs by fishers and in the news media, and we suggest methods for discrimination of related species.