Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

THERE are as few as 353 great white sharks left on our coastline.

This is according to research conducted since 2009 by Stellenbosch University (SU) researchers and shark conservationist Michael "Shark Man" Rutzen‚ which is said to be the "most comprehensive field study to date of the population numbers of great white sharks along the South African coastline".

"New research from SU shows that the South African white shark population is in double jeopardy‚" researchers said in a statement on Tuesday.

The results of the study‚ to be published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series‚ paint a gloomy picture for the survival of one of the ocean’s most iconic predators‚ they said in the statement titled "SA’s great white sharks heading for extinction".

The researchers said that the "magnificent great white shark" faces "double jeopardy" as "not only do they have the lowest genetic diversity of all white shark populations worldwide‚ there are also only between 353 and 522 individuals left".

The findings of the research will be released at a media conference on Wednesday.

TMG Digital