Harming a great white shark off the California coast could now net you time behind bars.
Three environmental groups asked the CDFW to protect the fish at the beginning of February. The groups said there are only around 340 great whites in the Northwestern Pacific region, making them in danger of extinction.
Under the CESA, great whites may not be hunted, pursued, or killed. Anyone caught harming or killing a shark could face criminal prosecution.
Commercial fishing for great whites has been banned in California waters for nearly 20 years, but some exceptions previously existed for research purposes.
The CDFW will now issue permits for scientific research. Fishermen will also have to obtain a permit in case of accidental capture of great white sharks.
With CESA protection for great whites, CDFW may also decide to deem the species endangered. The department will conduct a status review of the sharks to determine whether or not it is threatened and expect to make a decision by early 2014.