The great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, also known as great white, white pointer, white shark, or white death, is a large lamniform shark found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans. The great white shark is very well known for its size, because it can exceed 6 metres (20 ft) in length and 2,240 kilograms (4,940 lb) in weight. It becomes sexually mature at around 15 years of age and has a lifespan of 30 to over 100 years. The great white shark is arguably the world's largest known predatory fish, eating dolphins, porpoises, whale carcasses and pinnipeds such as seals, fur seals and sea lions. It is the only surviving species of its genus, Carcharodon.
The best selling novel Jaws and the subsequent film by Steven Spielberg provided the great white shark with the image of a "man eater" in the public mind. In reality, humans are not appropriate prey for great white sharks.
C.I.T.E.S. has listed the great white shark as an endangered species.Prior to August 1981, no great white shark in captivity lived longer than 11 days. In August 1981, a shark survived for 16 days at SeaWorld San Diego before being released. The idea of containing a live great white at SeaWorld Orlando was used in the 1983 film Jaws 3-D.
In 1984, shortly before its opening day, the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, housed its first great white shark, which died after 10 days. In July 2003, Monterey researchers captured a small female and kept it in a large netted pen near Malibu for five days. They had the rare success of getting the shark to feed in captivity before its release. Not until September 2004 was the aquarium able to place a great white on long-term exhibit. A young female, who was caught off the coast of Ventura, was kept in the aquarium's massive 3,800,000-litre (1,000,000 US gal) Outer Bay exhibit for 198 days before she was released in March 2005. She was tracked for 30 days after release. On the evening of August 31, 2006 the aquarium introduced a juvenile male caught outside Santa Monica Bay His first meal as a captive was a large salmon steak on September 8, 2006 and as of that date, he was estimated to be 1.72 metres (68 in) and to weigh approximately 47 kilograms (100 lb). He was released on January 16, 2007 after 137 days in captivity.
In addition, Monterey Bay Aquarium housed a third great white, a juvenile male, for 162 days between August 27, 2007 through February 5, 2008. On arrival, he was 1.4 metres (4 ft 7 in) long and weighed 30.6 kilograms (67 lb). He grew to 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) and 64 kilograms (140 lb) at release. A juvenile female came to the Outer Bay Exhibit on August 27, 2008. While she swam well, the shark fed only one time during her stay and was tagged and released on September 7. Another juvenile female was captured near Malibu on August 12, 2009, introduced to the Outer Bay exhibit on August 26, and successfully released to the wild on November 4, 2009. 
Probably the most famous captive was a 2.4 metres (7.9 ft) female named "Sandy", which in August 1980 became the only great white to be housed at the California Academy of Sciences' Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco, California. She was released because she would not eat and constantly bumped against the walls.It is unclear how much a concurrent increase in fishing for great white sharks has caused the decline of great white shark populations from the 1970s to the present. No accurate population numbers are available, but the great white shark is now considered endangered. Sharks taken during the long interval between birth and sexual maturity never reproduce, preventing population recovery.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (C.I.T.E.S.) has put the great white shark on its 'Appendix II' list of endangered species. Fishermen target many sharks for its jaws, teeth, and fins, and as a game fish. The great white shark, however, is rarely an object of commercial fishing, although its flesh is considered valuable. If casually captured (it happens for example in some tonnare in the Mediterranean), it is sold as smooth-hound shark.
From April 2007 great white sharks were fully protected within 370 kilometres (200 nmi) of New Zealand and additionally from fishing by New Zealand-flagged boats outside this range. The maximum penalty is a $250,000 fine and up to six months in prison.