The Great White Shark is perhaps one of the most controversial species of sharks. The great white sharks are a large lamniform shark species found in the coastal surface waters in all major oceans. It is known for its size, with the largest individuals known to have approached or exceeded 6 meters. The great white sharks are arguably the largest known predatory of marine mammals, and also the species that recorded the largest number of attacks on humans. Probably the best representation of the great white sharks is in the infamous movie Jaws, where they are depicted as ferocious man eaters. In reality, humans are not the preferred prey of the great white sharks.
There is a high debate right now concerning the great white sharks and their conservation status. The overfishing and poaching of the great white sharks has caused the decline of the shark population from the 1970s to the present. The great white sharks are now considered vulnerable. Fishermen target many great white sharks for their jaws, teeth and fins, and as a game fish in general. The great white sharks are however an object of commercial fishing, although their flesh is considered valuable. As of April 2007, the great white sharks have become fully protected within 370 kilometers of New Zealand and additionally from fishing by New Zealand flagged boats outside this range.
Still, the great white sharks represent a major source of tourism. Their infamous reputation enable tourists to dive near sharks, surrounded by a cage, to avoid any attacks. Cage diving is one of the most common tourist attractions on the coasts of Australia, South Africa and Guadalupe Islands. Cage diving and swimming with the sharks is a focus for the booming tourist industry due to its popularity. A common practice is to chum the water with pieces of fish to attract the great white sharks. These practices may make the great white sharks more accustomed to people in their environment and to associate human activity with food.