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Great white sharks ranging closer to Canadian coasts, UBC expert says

UBC climate change expert Dr. William Cheung says great white sharks are about to make a splash off Canada's coasts, thanks to warming ocean temperatures.

We're all going to need a bigger boat.

AP Photo/Copyright David Doubilet/National Geographic

We're all going to need a bigger boat.

Great white sharks could have their Canadian citizenships soon.

According to Dr. William Cheung, an associate professor at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at UBC, rising ocean temperatures may force great whites to expand their range north into the northeast Pacific and Atlantic— meaning, waters off of British Columbia and Newfoundland, respectively. 

Cheung and his team say that climate change is making the water too hot for sharks down south to live in. 

"If you look at the coast of California, it is expected that the types of species we see there could be in B.C. waters if we maintain at the status quo and do not mitigate carbon emissions," Cheung said in a UBC press release. "In the Atlantic, we would expect to see great whites along the coast of Newfoundland." 

B.C. is no stranger to sharks. There are currently 14 species listed in its waters, including the salmon shark, blue shark and the spiny dogfish.

But Cheung says the rising ocean temperatures are bad news for the native shark populations, as well. 

"The numbers of many shark species are going to shrink in the available habitat for them, particularly the tropical sharks," the press release reads.  

Cheung predicts that the great whites will arrive in greater numbers over the next few decades, so there may still be time to prepare for their takeover of the Canadian ocean kingdom.

However, UBC climate change research makes it clear that it's not just sharks that are about to find themselves in hot water — the human race will soon be, too. 

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