State officials are considering adding the great white shark to the California Endangered Species list.
The Fish and Game Commission is considering the issue during Wednesday's hearing in Sacramento.
If the status is granted, a year-long review process and automatic protections would begin.
Studies indicate there are more than 200 great white sharks in waters off California.
Locally, the appearance of juvenile sharks and attacks on sea lions ramped up in 2012. There was one fatal attack on an Orcutt man last October while surfing near Vandenberg Air Force Base west of Lompoc.
During an eight-month period last year, marine biologists documented 32 shark sightings and attacks in water off the central and south coast.