California Assembly Bill 2109 Provides New Protections For White Sharks

By the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)

On Monday, Sept. 19, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 2109, providing new protections for white sharks in California waters. White sharks, also called great white sharks, are already a protected species and an important part of the ocean ecosystem as top-level predators. There is enormous public and scientific interest in them.

Sponsored by Assemblymember Steve Bennett, the bill passed the California legislature with an overwhelming majority of support. The new restrictions aim to get ahead of activities that may lead to increased interactions between white sharks and humans, and to give law enforcement more tools 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 have been unintentionally hooked by fishermen by restricting when and where chum and shark bait can be used, while still 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,” Assemblymember Bennett said. “At the same time, public safety is of the utmost importance.”

“This bill represents a collaborative engagement between anglers, the scientific community, the legislature and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to develop proactive, common-sense approaches to further protect California’s iconic white sharks, while also protecting ocean users and preserving recreational fishing opportunities,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham.

Anglers should note the new rules regarding take of white sharks go into effect on January 1, 2023. These rules, found in California Fish and Game Code, section 5517, prohibit the use of shark bait, shark lures or shark chum to attract a white shark. Anglers also may not place those items into the water within one nautical mile of any shoreline, pier or jetty, when a white shark is visible or known to be present.

CDFW continues to work with partners to proactively address the potential for fishing activities to lead to white shark interactions. The Coastal Conservation Association of California (CCA CAL) is also very supportive of protecting white sharks.

“We fight for responsible and sustainable fishing practices while also supporting regulations to protect our most vulnerable resources,” said Wayne Kotow, executive director for CCA CAL. “We are all stewards of the resources and need to work together for the future of our favorite sport of fishing.”

“We have seen increased use of California beaches as nursery habitat for juvenile white sharks,” said Dr. Chris Lowe, a professor in marine biology and director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach. “This bill will help reduce fishery interactions with white sharks, helping the protected sharks and ocean users by reducing the risk of hooking these sharks at public beaches and ocean piers where people are swimming, surfing and diving.”

For more information about white sharks, please visit CDFW’s White Shark Information webpage, which includes answers to frequently asked questions, as well as shark incident information going back to 1950. Additional questions may be sent to CDFW’s Marine Region via email.


Written by Anonymous

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    • BUFORD – Calm down, it does not ban all chumming. Read it more closely. Bait/chum only prohibited if using it to actively attract GWs or when you’re within 1 mile of a recent sighting. Basically, you’re not allowed to attract them to your boat or pier/jetty for “interaction” (cage diving, fishing, etc). You can still go fish for leopards and threshers of the pier, well unless you know there’s a big ol’ pointer out there nearby!

    • You have to be kidding. What does a “recent” sighting mean to you? Last hour, day, last week or two? They constantly move around, and being the biggest preditor, they show up when youre minding your own business fishing for anything. Above all, when already protected, what’s the point in adding restrictions to OTHER fishing for the possibility of a GW? Unnecessary and a reason to fine someone doing nothing wrong.

    • BUFORD – it’s simple. It’s banning people from TRYING TO ATTRACT great white sharks. If you’re chumming for threshers/makos, whatever off your boat and a GW shows up, no one is going to come flying out to arrest you. Now, if F&G comes by and you have massive rigs on your deck/shark cage, etc, while chumming, might be a different story.
      The purpose, if any of you bothered to read, is to limit interactions. That means, no attracting GWs near humans for the purpose of “interacting.” From the DFG website:
      “This bill will help reduce fishery interactions with white sharks, helping the protected sharks and ocean users by reducing the risk of hooking these sharks at public beaches and ocean piers where people are swimming, surfing and diving.”

  1. It’s not like there is a WS population problem.
    You should watch the 6 part documentary about them.
    I think there was 6 parts to the story if I recall.
    Sharknado has a lot of white sharks, even in space!
    Maybe they can put Newsome in the next one if they do it.
    Lots of great cameos in the movies.
    I think even some local celebs have met their demise in the series.

  2. edscolds from scoldhat descend on the subject even though they clearly are ignorant.
    “These rules, found in California Fish and Game Code, section 5517, prohibit the use of shark bait, shark lures or shark chum to attract a white shark. Anglers also may not place those items into the water within one nautical mile of any shoreline, pier or jetty, when a white shark is visible or known to be present.”
    This law effectively makes ALL shark bait, lure use, thus all shark fishing a citable offense within one mile of shore using some undescribed formula of ( “undefined notification process, + “knowledge of presence” = citation) about where white sharks are. There are almost always white sharks within a mile of shore and if they want to ban all shark fishing in this area, they should have the courage to say so.
    This law also puts the fisherman into a situation of proving their own innocence. “I did not get the notification” Too bad. That is on you. “I didn’t know there were white sharks present” Too bad. Hard to prove when you have one hooked
    Most fishing laws just say for example: you cannot fish for any trout species here because there is a protected trout in these waters. Or: This golden trout is protected. You are not allowed to take any golden trout here, they must be released. All other trout OK
    Why not say: no white sharks may be taken within one mile of shore and if caught, must be released.

    • These quotes are from 2019. How in the heck do you think you have more experience than those in the CA Dept of Fish and Wildlife? “Mike Stefanak, the CDFW’s marine enforcement district assistant chief, agrees that the language regulating the take of fish and other animals isn’t necessarily clear. “There are always areas of the law that tend to be gray,” he says, adding that “without statements from witnesses, or statements from other participants,” proving that an angler was fishing specifically for great whites is “very difficult.”
      “As a businessman, Wonder has benefited from catching so many great whites. He owns a company, Terra Firma Tackle, that sells shark fishing gear, including leaders—hooks connected to long lengths of bite-resistant wire—suitable for landing very large sharks. Wonder says each photo of a great white that he posts to Instagram “is a sale.”
      “On August 17, 2017, Wonder posted a comment on one such photo in which he called the catch of a particularly large great white “a milestone.” More recently, in a post from December 2018, he said a mid-sized great white was in the “top 10 for sure, but still a long way from crushing [my personal best] from two years ago.””

    • You still can’t handle spelling his name correctly, or understanding how the government works. Newsom didn’t create the bill, usher it through the assembly, or really have anything to do with it other than signing it when it landed on his desk.
      You say you’re the rational middle ground. Sorry, bud, but you’re nowhere near that.

  3. Repuglicans hate the environment – this is not new news. The GOP has become a sick machine designed to create disinformation for fear mongering and fund raising to re-elect their power hungry authoritarians. Pump out the fumes and the gases and kill all the animals and wildlife. Jesus will take us all soon when the four horseman come anywhere so we’ll have no grandkids to leave it too is their going philosophy – so they say they are the victim, can’t do nothing about it and put their head in the sand. The GOP has become an evangelical nonsense fornicator for that all will follow their twisted version of the myth of Jesus. Much like the time of the Salem witch trials and the Spanish Inquisition. An enemy of nature and democracy, science, and fundamental human and civil rights.

  4. Patrick, I challenge to to go ahead and prove your statement with some primary research. To me it looks like you’re spewing some bites and headlines, and that’s not science bud. The MPA’s are a completely different issue, but if you want to bring that up go ahead. There is ZERO credible evidence of your assertion in any legitimate study. And I’m not talking just googling stuff and throwing out some random titles. Don’t bother if you’re bringing that garbage. Those who do science (not for the government) know how to critically think. Let’s see what you got.

  5. Unfortunately, this legislation is not going to save a single white shark, but nice try. I don’t believe anyone can explain otherwise. I’ve been fishing my entire life (okay, starting when I was about 4 or 5….not from birth, so not my e-n-t-i-r-e life). First fish was a crappie caught using a simple stick with about three feet of line, rusty hook, and fresh water “tube” grub. Halibut in Alaska. Rainbow trout in Tasmania and Rio Grande (Tierra del Fuego, Argentina), hand line fishing all around Australia (really easy to travel with a hand line in your luggage/backpack), bonefish in Turks and Caicos, and every type of fish (except great whites) from the shores of Santa Barbara to Santa Barbara Island. Those who have a passion for fishing don’t care about your politics or who you voted for and typically avoid the subject, especially on multiple-day fishing trips. Our focus and obsession is on fishing, not on demonizing each other over simple disagreements….at least not true lovers of fishing. Maybe consider focusing on the enjoyment of fishing, not hound others about politics is a good start unless you want to turn off everyone. Bottom line is that feel-good legislation will do nothing to save the GWs from those who want to kill them. Good luck to my wonderful friends who enjoy fishing, especially anyone who is into catch and release!

    • 1:01 AM: Thanks for wishing me and my friends luck….I will take any/all positive vibes sent my way (who wants the negative vibes?). You are correct about wanting our fish populations to be at higher levels, and that’s why we practice “catch & release”, where we release nearly all fish after we catch them. When fishing the Kenai River in Alaska, we will keep some of the salmon, but certainly not keep a halibut (or anything else) caught at the Goleta/SB/Gaviota piers. I can appreciate it when folks such as yourself say “you’ve done it all!” However, like learning, the more you know, the more you know that you don’t know. So, the more I do, the more I realize that I have NOT done! Odd, but that’s how it works in my case. Keep on fishin’ people….and keep puttin’ ’em back in the water for future generations to enjoy!!!

  6. Got it. And wow, what a statement against your fellow humans.
    “White Sharks ancestry dates back more than 400 million years, and they are one of evolution’s greatest success stories.”
    I don’t think they need Newsom’s help. He and the CA dems should really focus on fixing this broken state. The priorities are so out of whack. How about a bill for the middle class, reducing crime, helping students and teachers. White Sharks? What a joke.

  7. “Or are White Sharks and criminals prioritizes over the regular folks by Newsom?” – uhhhhh….. what?
    “If you would like to engage in logical debate, I am all ears” – lol
    “But playground talk is not worthwhile. Would like to raise the bar on Edhat.” – you mean like how “Newsom prioritizes white sharks” over “good humans” or “regular folks?”

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