Connectivity between white shark populations off Central California, USA and Guadalupe Island, Mexico


Marine animals often move beyond national borders and exclusive economic zones resulting in a need for trans-boundary management spanning multiple national jurisdictions. Highly migratory fish vulnerable to over-exploitation require protections at international level, as exploitation practices can be disparate between adjacent countries and marine jurisdictions. In this study we collaboratively conducted an analysis of white shark connectivity between two main aggregation regions with independent population assessment and legal protection programs; one off central California, USA and one off Guadalupe Island, Mexico. We acoustically tagged 326 sub-adult and adult white sharks in central California (n=210) and in Guadalupe Island (n=116) with acoustic transmitters between 2008-2019. Of the 326 tagged white sharks, 30 (9.20%) individuals were detected at both regions during the study period. We used a Bayesian implementation of logistic regression with a binomial distribution to estimate the effect of sex, maturity, and tag location to the response variable of probability of moving from one region to the other. While nearly one in ten individuals in our sample were detected in both regions over the study period, the annual rate of trans-regional movement was low (probability of movement = 0.015 yr-1, 95% credible interval = 0.002, 0.061). Sub-adults were more likely than adults to move between regions and sharks were more likely to move from Guadalupe Island to central California, however, sex, and year were not important factors influencing movement. This first estimation of demographic-specific trans-regional movement connecting US and Mexico aggregations with high seasonal site fidelity represents an important step to future international management and assessment of the northeastern Pacific white shark population as a whole.



white shark, california, Guadalupe Island, acoustic telemetry, movement rates, connectivity


Kanive PE, Rotella JJ, Chapple TK, Anderson SD, Hoyos-Padilla M, Klimley AP, Galván-Magaña F, Andrzejaczek S, Block BA and Jorgensen SJ (2023) Connectivity between white shark populations off Central California, USA and Guadalupe Island, Mexico. Front. Mar. Sci. 10:1210969. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2023.1210969
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