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Pacific Coast Shark News 2016

The following reports for 2016 are provided as a public service. They are intended to inform our visitors of current shark activities along the Pacific Coast of North America. To review Pacific Coast Shark News for 2003 click here, for 2004 click here, for 2005 click here, for 2006 news click here, for 2007 click here, for 2008 click here, for 2009 news click here, for 2010 news click here, for 2011 news click here, for 2012 news click here for 2013 click here for 2014 click here and for 2015 click here.


Santa Barbara   —  On February 11, 2016 a juvenile Great White Shark, 5 – 7 feet in length, was reported by a Sea Center employee. At 11:30 AM the shark was swimming near the East side of Stearns Wharf. Per standard Santa Barbara City protocol, nearby beaches will be posted with an advisory for 72-hours. If there are no further sightings, the advisory will be removed Sunday afternoon, February 14th. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


San Onofre State Beach   —  On February 6, 2016 Patricia Waterman, and an unidentified companion, were surfing about ½ of a city block North of the Lifeguard Station at Trail 6, San Onofre State Beach. It was 10:00 AM and they had only been on the water a few minutes as they paddled out from shore to their desired location. The water was clear and about 20 feet deep with the waves 1 – 3 feet. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Waterman reported;“I noticed the shark as soon as I had reached my desired outside distance. It circled me and my board, which is 9.5 feet in length. I balanced my hands and legs on top of the board. It circled 360 degrees when a wave came that I eagerly went for and rode it to shore and safely got out of the water. Another lone surfer was circled by the shark right after me. He came into shore about 5 minutes after me and my friend and reported on his event with the shark. It was a juvenile Great White Shark, 5 plus feet in length and about 1 foot wide.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


San Clemente   —  On January 18, 2016 Journalist Pete Thomas reported the following;“A juvenile great white shark was hooked and reeled to a Southern California pier Monday as passersby — and the angler — rooted for the predator to break the line. The 6-foot shark in the accompanying footage (see link) can be seen languishing after being reeled to the surface at the San Clemente Pier in north Orange County. It's belly-up toward the end of the struggle before finally righting itself and breaking the line, swimming away amid cheers. Great white sharks are protected in California. Hooking them accidentally is not illegal, of course, but anglers are supposed to break the line once they realize they've hooked one. But juvenile white sharks commonly feed in Southern California waters throughout much of the year, although sightings are more common in the spring and summer. They're rarely hooked by anglers on piers, but there have been sporadic catches, a few of which became well-publicized incidents. In July 2014,  a white shark bit a swimmer  as it was hooked and being fought by an angler on the Manhattan Beach Pier in L.A. County. In Aug. 2011, an angler was investigated after hauling a 5-foot white shark onto the Huntington Beach Pier   in Orange County. Closer to San Clemente, California, in Dec. 2013, a U.S. Marine caught and released a 10-foot white shark while fishing from the beach in Camp Pendleton.” Additional information available at; http://www.grindtv.com/fishing/great-white-shark-hooked-from-pier-breaks-free-amid-cheers/#q7j9xcKO2bpJemLv.97 . Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


Leadbetter Beach   —  On January 16, 2016 Nick Svensson was surfing with his son off the point at Leadbetter Beach. Peter Howorth, Santa Barbara News-Press Correspondent, reported the following;“Local surfer Nick Svensson was surfing with his son off the point at Leadbetter Beach late Saturday afternoon when he said he saw a dorsal fin. At first he thought it was a dolphin, but as a wave rose, he could clearly see that it was a great white shark. It was only about ten feet from him. Mr. Svensson could see its tail at this point, which was moving from side to side. The distance from the tail to the dorsal fin was 5 – 6 feet and he estimated the total length of the shark to be about 8 feet. ‘It was definitely a juvenile,' he said. ‘It was less than two feet in diameter.' In a macabre turn of events, the shark started to nibble on a red flower that was floating nearby with other blossoms from a memorial service. The shark noticed Svensson about this time and headed seaward. ‘I think I may have frightened it away.' He continued; ‘At no time did it threaten me.' He immediately told his son then paddled around warning the other 12 surfers that were in the area. Svensson called the harbor patrol after his encounter, which posted signs at Santa Barbara Beaches explaining that a shark had been seen in the area. The warnings will remain up until Tuesday, January 19, if there are no further sightings. ‘The warnings are intended to aid the public in making an informed decision about entering the water,' the harbor patrol said in a prepared statement. Warning signs went up less than two weeks earlier at Leadbetter after local sailing instructor Jason Burke was conducting crew overboard drills about a mile offshore. He stated that a great white shark he estimated at 14 to 15 feet long breached next to a life preserver they had thrown overboard to represent a person in the water. The shark whacked the life preserver with its tail.“ Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


Montecito   —  On January 13, 2016 Kurt Harris reported the following;“At about 5:30 PM I had been surfing for about 30 minutes off Miramar Beach in Montecito. It was at dusk and I was the only surfer in the water. The surf was small and choppy with an estimated air and water temperatures of 60 degrees and 59 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Most of the time on the water I was facing out to sea looking for approaching sets of waves. I would estimate that I was 50 – 70 yards, or less, from shore most of the time. When I finished surfing and emerged from the water a local resident who had been watching told me that the whole time I was surfing he witnessed a shark, evidenced by a dark shape underwater and obvious dorsal fin, racing up and down Miramar Beach possibly feeding about 5 – 10 yards from shore (inside of my position) in just a few feet of water. He said the shark swam in my direction once when I was sitting on my board but then veered off. He estimated it to be at least as long as my surfboard, which is 7 feet 2 inches in length. I never personally saw the shark but he showed me photographs he had taken with his iphone. The image in the photographs looked like it could be a shark and he seemed reliable in his description.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


Huntington Beach   —  On January 11, 2016 Susan Godwim and two unidentified companions were surfing near ‘The Cliffs' in Huntington Beach. It was 11:30 AM and they had been on the water about 1 hour. The sky was clear with a mild breeze and an estimated air temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. It was high tide and the sea conditions were calm with the water temperature estimated to be 56 degrees Fahrenheit. An undetermined number of Dolphin had moved through the area a few minutes prior to the encounter. Susan reported;“My two friends and I were sitting on our boards when we observed the shark. It was traveling South to North straight towards us in an intersecting path. It remained on the surface until it was within 10 – 20 feet of us then seemingly dove down out of sight. The dorsal fin was grey and about 8 inches high with the tail also above the surface. We did not see it again after it submerged.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


Carpinteria   —  On January 8, 2016 Peter C. Howorth, Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, reported the following non-emergency advisory;“I visited the Carpinteria seal colony today and saw one adult harbor seal with fresh wounds on its lower back inflicted by a white shark. I saw another animal with an old, healed scar. The animals were just beginning to come ashore as the tide receded. I intend to go back during a low tide when many more are on the beach to get an idea of how many have been attacked.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


Leadbetter Beach   —  On January 4, 2016  Jason Burke, a captain at the Santa Barbara Sailing Center reported the following; "I was practicing man overboard drills with four students. I was about a mile off Leadbetter Beach, Santa Barbara, at the time. I had dropped an orange life preserver into the water and we were making turns around it, when a White Shark, estimated at 14 to 15 feet in length, breached horizontally next to the preserver and 15 feet from our boat, a 34-foot J-24 sloop. The shark whacked the life preserver with its tail and disappeared." Burke saw the dark back and white sides clearly and was certain it was a White Shark. Burke has been a surfer all his life and has considerable boating experience as well. The Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol posted warning signs at Leadbetter Beach. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.






The material contained on this Web site is shared as a public service and to further the scientific goals of the Shark Research Committee.  All text and images on this Web site are the exclusive property of the Shark Research Committee.  Information on this Web site may be used for private study, but may not otherwise be published, duplicated, or modified in any way without the prior written permission of Ralph S. Collier.