Great white sharks have few natural predators beyond orca whales and larger sharks. Human interaction accounts for the vast majority of sharks being killed. Shark fins are considered a delicacy in some cultures, and their meat is used in traditional medicine. Shark teeth are also prized ornaments. Sport fishermen often want to hunt great white sharks because the sharks are viewed as people killers. Sharks also get caught in meshes protecting beaches and fishing nets.
Wildlife experts state that fewer than 3,500 great white sharks exist in the wild, making them highly endangered. One problem is their reputation as ruthless killers that even attack humans. They are huge at up to 20 feet long and up to 5,000 pounds. A single shark bite can be fatal.
Researchers have discovered that people are not natural prey for great whites. Though up to half of all shark bites are attributed to great whites, these are the result of "sample biting," or the sharks determining if the person is edible. Sharks often release the human rather than consume them. Their continued reputation as killers makes conservation efforts difficult to promote.