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Pacific Coast Shark News 2015

The following reports for 2015 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 and for 2014 click here.

 

Manhattan Beach   —   On February 27, 2015 Will Gilmore was surfing El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 9:45 AM and he had been on the water 90 minutes. The sky was overcast with an estimated air temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm over a sandy bottom 6 – 8 feet deep with an estimated temperature of 61 degrees Fahrenheit. A small seal was observed prior to the encounter and a long board surfer had a whale come up near him followed by a shark. Gilmore reported; “I was sitting in the lineup in front of the showers at El Porto. A surfer ten yards to my right was slowly paddling away. Something caught my attention and I looked at him as a huge swirling hole of water popped up two feet in front of his face. There was some more thrashing of water but nothing breached. He immediately said shark and bolted for shore. When I got to shore I asked him what he saw and he said it was a white shark with a back fin that was about three feet in length. After getting out of the water, I kept watching and saw a pod of dolphins swimming swiftly. I also saw an animal thrashing in the water in front of the smoke stacks and moving north, as it was being followed by a large group of birds.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

In Memoriam   February 25, 2015 It is with great personal sadness that I report the passing of 'The Shark Lady'....Dr. Eugenie Clark.....a pioneer in the field of shark research and a friend.........she will be missed by all who knew her and all those that knew of her tireless efforts to conserve and save our oceans and their inhabitants........God Bless you Genie..

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/02/150225-eugenie-clark-shark-lady-marine-biologist-obituary-science/

 

Dana Point Harbor   —   On February 25, 2015 Arthur Grant was on a Stan Up Paddle Board inside the breakwater in Dana Point Harbor about 50 yards West of the light and 20 feet off the breakwater rocks. It was 3:15 PM and he had been on the water 25 minutes. The sky was clear with a mild breeze and an estimated air temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was calm over a sandy ocean bottom 18 feet deep, with 40 feet of underwater visibility and an estimated temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. There were short statured kelps growing from the breakwater rocks and more than 25 pinnipeds scattered on the breakwater rocks with a few in the water. Grant reported;“I launched at Baby Beach and was paddling my bright red 14 foot race Stand Up Paddle Board along the inside of the Dana Point Breakwater, about 50 yards from the light at the end of it where the Sea Lions congregate. The water was clear and calm. I saw a dark shape about two feet beneath the surface swimming directly toward me, head on. I knew immediately that it was a shark, and not a Sea Lion. I am a lifelong surfer; fisherman, free diver and professional mariner, and I have seen many species of sharks before, in many oceans. I was wearing polarized sunglasses and could see this shark perfectly. At the last moment the shark noticed me and rolled to its left side and gave a kick to get beneath my board. I saw its profile as it swam about 4 feet beneath my board. It had a dark grey topside which transitioned to a white underbelly; the tail fin was oversized. I estimated that the shark was 8 feet long, as it was more than half the length of my paddle board. As it swam under and about 20 feet behind me, I could clearly see it turn to the right and begin to make a slow circle, and it swam under me again, and then did so a second time. The body was broad, and the pectoral and dorsal fins also seemed oversized. I estimate its weight to be about 250 lbs. There is no doubt in my mind that it was a juvenile Great White Shark. After the second circle it made of me, it continued on its original course into the harbor, along the breakwater, about 2 feet beneath the surface. That was the last I saw of it, though I paddled around the area for another 30 minutes looking for it. I alerted all paddle boarders and kayakers that I saw on my way back to Baby Beach.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Ventura   —   On February 23, 2015 Noah Liebelt and Shane Weaver were surfing 50 – 75 feet from shore near the jetty at the end of Dover Lane at San Buenaventura State Beach, which is located South of the pier and North of harbor in Ventura. It was 9:15 AM and they had been on the water about one hour. The sky was clear with a mild breeze and an estimated air temperature of 61 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with a 2 – 3 foot swell over a sandy ocean bottom with an estimated temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Liebelt reported;“While I was sitting on my board looking out at waves with the sun at my back I watched a shark suddenly breach completely out of the water about 50 yards off the jetty. The shark was about 8 feet in length with a sandy/gray color on its back. The tail was thrashing back and forth and made it easy to identify as a shark. I did not see any fish or marine mammals that the shark might have been chasing.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Manhattan Beach   —   On February 22, 2015 Brian Toal and Art Krispin were surfing El Porto in Manhattan Bach just South of the power plant. It was 7:00 AM and they had been on the water 5 minutes. The sky was cloudy with an estimated air temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was 6 – 8 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with 2 – 3 foot waves and an estimated temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. Toal recounted;“My friend and I got to El Porto and he was setting up his camera gear. I paddled out in front of the water tank south of the El Porto stacks. Immediately I saw what appeared to be a sea lion pup body floating about 10 yards west of me. I paddled about 10 yards south of its location turned to look back and saw a dorsal fin then the entire shark, a 7 – 8 foot juvenile white shark, attacking the sea lion body. I tried to get GoPro footage but it did not come out. I paddled south another 20 or so yards and motioned to my friend who was about to enter the water directly east of the shark. I motioned for him to paddle out south of his current location. We stayed out another hour surfing. At a couple of times we paddled through entrails. I wanted to also let you know that there are stories of a bigger shark the previous day attacking a large adult sea lion.  Art and I saw the body of this sea lion just north of 45th street against the rocks. Also, yesterday my girlfriend and I came across a headless sea lion body down at Burnout near Torrance Beach. This was odd to me because I surf there often and have never seen any sharks. What I have noticed the last few weeks is that the dolphins have not been as frequent down at the south end of the bay.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Cannon Beach , OR   —   On February 21, 2015 Chase Evans was Body Surfing the South end of Tolovana State Beach, which is located at the South end of Cannon Beach, Oregon. It was 2:30 PM and he had been on the water about 1.5 hours. It was sunny with a few clouds passing from the East and an air temperature of 65 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was about 7 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with an increasing high tide and a temperature of 56 degrees Fahrenheit. Evans reported; “I was surfing for about an hour before deciding to bodysurf at the south end of what is known as Needles or Tolovana State Park. I was in the water for a total of an hour and half until I came up from a crashing wave and heard shouting from the shore. I turned and saw a man and a woman waving and shouting. I wasn't sure what they wanted until I saw the man making a hand gesture alluding to a shark fin and they were yelling 'shark!' At the time I was standing in about 5 feet of water and waded my way to shore while I looked around behind me for a fin or any indication of the shark but I didn't see anything. When I got to shore I watched the water with the man and asked him if he was sure it wasn't a dolphin but the man said it was much larger, nearly the size of a whale. He said they saw it just behind me in a breaking wave. From what was described to me, it didn't seem as though it was after me at all but minding its own business. We watched the water for quite some time and I noticed after a few minutes that there were about 5 bobbing seals behind the breaking waves but there were no signs that the shark was near. Looking back, it seemed as though the water visibility was slowly decreasing throughout the day.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Seaside Cove, OR   —   On February 20, 2015 Todd Prager was surfing at Seaside Cove, located North of Cannon Beach and South of Gearheart Ocean State Park, Oregon. It was 8:30 AM and he had been on the water only 10 minutes. The sky was mostly cloudy with an estimated air temperature of 51 degrees Fahrenheit. The water was about 15 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with an estimated temperature of 53 degrees Fahrenheit and approximately 6 feet of water visibility. No marine mammals were observed in area. Prager reported;“I was at Seaside Cove for a morning surf session and took the rip current adjacent to the rocks to get to the outside. I had to paddle on my board to get past the last few waves, and I took a little break and sat on my board after getting almost to the outside. While sitting on my board, I thought something large and dark swam beneath me but I figured I was just seeing things. Then I started to paddle again toward the outside to get past the last wave or two and there were a couple of sea birds sitting on top of the waves. As the next wave rose up and lifted the birds, I saw a 12 – 13 foot shark, with a blunt nose, swim in the wave toward the birds. At that point, the birds flapped away and I was able to catch the wave and ride it to shore. I was the first surfer in the water that day and no other surfers were in the water.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Manhattan Beach   —   On February 20, 2015 Marco Palma and an unidentified companion were surfing near 26 th Street, South of El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 7:00 AM and they had been on the water about 20 minutes. The sky was clear with an estimated air temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm over a sandy ocean bottom 4 – 6 feet deep with an estimated temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit and 4 feet of water visibility. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Palma recounted; “My friend had caught a few waves on what was a small day, with clean sets. When he paddled back to join me, I noticed the dorsal fin about 5 feet South of him. I was about 15 feet North of him. From that distance it didn't seem very large, but in recollection we did not see a tail (caudal) fin, so I think that we were actually only seeing the tip. The fin itself seemed to reach about 7 inches above the water. It was dark grey and seemed to have some scratches. The animal didn't move, which is what made me think that it was not a dolphin as most dolphins that frequent El Porto and Manhattan Beach are typically in constant motion. I yelled to my friend that it was a ‘shark' and we paddled in. As he was turning to begin paddling, the fin submerged. He thinks that it might have started following him. Another surfer about 10 feet north of me saw the fin as well. He and his two other friends also left the water, though as we walked away from the shore, about five other surfers replaced us in the lineup. My friend mentioned that he had a small, shallow cut on his finger tip that was not bleeding openly.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Ocean Shores, WA   —   On February 19, 2015 Fox News 13 reported;A Great White Shark, about 18-feet long, is believed to be swimming off the Washington coast and feeding on Harbor Seals close to shore, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said. The evidence is a seal that was found Thursday, February 19, on a beach near Ocean Shores, neatly bitten in half. Ocean Shores is located about 20 miles north of the Long Beach Peninsula's northern tip in Grays County. A necropsy was performed by the department in consultation with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shark expert in California. They determined on Tuesday the likely predator was a Great White Shark. Judging by the spacing of the bite marks it is about 18 feet long. The seal found with its hindquarters missing was a female that weighed more than 200 pounds. Its stomach was filled with smelt, indicating she had been recently attacked close to shore. Great White Sharks appear off the Washington coast, as they do elsewhere around the world. Only two shark attacks on humans have been documented in Washington — one in the 1830s and one in 1989. The attacks weren't fatal, but the 1989 incident did occur in Grays Harbor. As a precaution the department has notified other agencies of the presence of the Great White Shark, including the Coast Guard, state parks, and local governments and tribes on the coast. Another seal found dead near Ocean Shores on Saturday also was examined, but it was determined it likely died as a result of being entangled in a fishing net. It did not have bite marks.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Crescent City   —   On February 19, 2015 Stevin Strickland, Northcoast Marine Mammal Center, reported the following;“Volunteers were called out today to assess three separate California Sea Lions (CSL). Based on photographic evidence the hemispheric bite markings are consistent with shark predations. The first event revealed a shark had bitten the left side of an immature CSL near 9th Street and Brother Jonathan Point in Crescent City. The right flipper was completely bitten through with a deep puncture to the upper right side. The seal had been dead several days. Due to tide and seal positioning no view of the underside was possible. The second event found two separate young adult male CSL's at the Crescent City Inner Boat Basin's NOAA established pinniped haul-out float docks. This CSL survived a massive gashing open wound to its side. It is estimated at 6 plus feet in length and over 400 pounds (photograph). It was observed alive at 12:45PM. The third event also involves a surviving CSL on the same floating dock as the second CSL. It shows evidence of a shark bite to its tail. The estimated weight is 300 pounds plus and length 5 feet plus. The bite wound does not appear to have been recent, but is clearly hemispheric in nature and partially closed and/or healing. Also, the entire tail was bitten with the dentition from the bite marks clearly evident.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Oxnard Shores   —   On February 7, 2015 Dean Leonardi was surfing 50 – 75 yards from the beach and 400 yards South of Fifth Street at Oxnard Shores. It was 9:30 AM and he had been on the water 1.5 hours. The sky was overcast and there was a light rain with an estimated air temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with the waves running 4 – 6 feet over a sandy bottom with an estimated temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Leonardi reported;“I was sitting on my surfboard waiting for waves. A surfer closer to the shark had his back turned towards it at the time of the encounter. He was paddling for a set wave. The shark swam slowly towards that surfer, and a small group of surfers near him, in an apparent straight path. The shark was about 50 feet from me and 30 degrees off axis to my left. I paddled immediately for shore trying to get myself into turbulent water caused by breaking waves while minimizing creating too much thrashing by sprinting to shore. The triangular shaped dorsal fin was 7 – 12 inches high and there was no tail observed as it moved slowly across the surface. I kept looking behind me as I headed to shore but could not see dorsal fin anymore. Two other surfers paddled to shore at same time and we all agreed there was shark. Another five surfers stayed in water.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Moss Landing State Beach   —   On January 29, 2015 Alan Bairley was surfing the break near the jetty at Moss Landing State Beach. It was 9:00 AM and he had been on the water about 20 minutes. The sky was clear with a light offshore wind and an estimated water temperature in the mid-50s Fahrenheit. The sea was smooth and glassy with short interval waves 4 – 8 feet high over a sandy ocean floor about 10+ feet deep. Water visibility was 6 – 10 feet with an estimated water temperature in the upper 50s Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Bairley reported; “I went out surfing near Moss Landing Jetty in nice waves. I caught two waves in ten minutes paddling back out after each. As I was paddling for my 3rd wave and checking my position, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. Looking down, I saw a crescent shaped, dark, vertical tail, which was somewhat larger than the width of my surfboard (21.5 inches), connecting to a grey body that was darker on top than the bottom. I could not make out any other features as the shark was swimming underneath me, down towards the depths. There was another surfer in the water close to my location, who I notified, and we paddled in together. He explained that he too apparently had been ‘buzzed' by some marine animal, but could not identify it. Afterwards, we spoke with another surfer on the shore who had also exited the water when he saw a ‘shark-like shape' that appeared to be in a wave he was paddling for.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Notice   —   January 22, 2015 NEWS RELEASE

Pacific Coast Shark Attacks During 2014

There were 6 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks on humans reported from the Pacific Coast of North America during 2014. All of the attacks were recorded from California. The attacks were distributed in the following months; July (1), October (4) and December (1). Activities of the victims were; 3 Surfing, 2 Kayaking, and 1 Outrigger. The Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, was positively identified or highly suspect in all 6 unprovoked attacks. Only two individual's sustained physical injury, both were surfing. These incidents will be treated in greater detail in the Year-End SRC Newsletter. The boat incident in November in Central California is not considered in this analysis due to the activity of fishing, which might have attracted the shark to the vessel.

The publication “Shark Attacks of the Twentieth Century” authenticated 108 unprovoked shark attacks from the Pacific Coast between 1900 and 1999. The Great White Shark was implicated in 94 (87%) of the 108 confirmed attacks with an annual average of slightly more than one shark attack per year. The 6 cases reported for 2014 brings the total number of unprovoked shark attacks occurring along the Pacific Coast during the 21 st Century to 83. This is ‘three times' the Twentieth Century annual average of slightly more than 2 shark attack per year during the period 1950 – 1999. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 73 (88%) of the 83 attacks recorded during the 21st Century. From 2000 to the present, 42 (51%) of the 83 confirmed attacks occurred during the three month period of August (12), September (9), and October (21). There have been 191 authenticated unprovoked shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast of North America from 1900 to 2014. The Great White Shark was positively identified or highly suspect in 167 (87%) of the 191 cases. There were 8 fatal shark attacks confirmed from 1900 to 1999 and 5 fatal attacks reported from 2000 to 2013. The 13 fatal attacks represent 7% of the 191 total cases.

Victim activity for the 83 shark attacks reported from the Pacific Coast since 2000 are distributed in the following ocean user groups; surfers 54 (65%) of the documented attacks, with 6 swimmers (7%), 11 kayakers (13%), 4 divers (5%), 4 paddle boarders (5%), 1 windsurfer (1%), 1 fishing (1%), 1 outrigger (1%) and 1 boogie boarder (1%). The number of shark-bitten stranded marine mammals reported in 2014 was slightly less than the prior year, especially in Santa Barbara County. This artifact might not necessarily be the result of a decrease in the number of sharks or pinnipeds but rather fewer individuals reporting these events to recognized organizations or individuals. The Shark Research Committee will continue to closely monitor these activities.

 

Manhattan Beach   —   On January 18, 2015 Jonathon Pickle and Ross Monroe were surfing at El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was 10 – 11 AM and they were about 50 yards from shore. While waiting for a set they both observed a Great White Shark, 7 – 8 feet in length and very ‘girthy', breach about 100 yards from shore and 50 yards from their location. Its mouth was open when it breached ‘completely horizontal' to the ocean's surface. An undetermined number of surfers in the area also observed the shark's breach. They both said they had not seen a Great White Shark ‘that chunky' in the area before. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Humboldt North Jetty   —   On January 14, 2015 Andrew Goff of the Lost Coast Outpost described the following;Attached to a personal dive float and with a 70cm speargun in hand, 23-year-old Martin Magneson was free diving on the channel side of the jetty about 50 yards out from where the rocks transition to ‘dolos' (a concrete block in a complex geometric shape weighing up to 20 tons, used in great numbers to protect harbor walls from erosive). Conditions were good; he'd snagged a few fish, which he'd clipped to a rope attached to his float that also tethered his gun, in case he dropped it. Magneson said underwater visibility was pretty good for Humboldt — about 20 feet. As he was about to surface, he glanced out toward the ocean and his peripheral vision caught a grayish/whitish object in the distance. At first he thought it was a harbor seal, as he'd already seen a couple earlier. Then he figured it out,‘It was a great white. I couldn't mistake it,' Magneson told LoCO  via phone, estimating the shark was nearly 15 feet. ‘Its mouth was as big as my torso, from my waistline to the middle of my neck.' At first, Magneson said, the shark wasn't aggressive — ‘It was just there to investigate' — and watched him from a distance. He wonders if maybe it had been drawn by his day's catch, still attached to his float nearby. Then it quickly came closer. As the shark neared, Magneson pointed his speargun toward it but resisted firing — thinking it might be his last line of defense. When the shark was close enough he poked at it. ‘It felt like a solid object,' he said, adding that his prodding didn't really phase it. Magneson pulled the trigger. At this point the shark was close enough to engulf most of the speargun in its mouth. Magneson released his grip when he felt the animal bite down. After untangling the rope attached to the gun from his weight belt, Magneson said he then pushed against the shark to get away and was struck by its pectoral fin. Aided by his three-foot fins, Magneson swam as fast as he could toward the jetty.  ‘I don't know how long it took,' Magneson said about his brief journey to the rocks. ‘It felt like it took forever.' Once he reached safety, he looked back toward his float and said it was briefly moving, as though the shark was still somehow attached. Then the movement stopped. He contacted the Coast Guard to let them know his equipment was in the water. The Coast Guard pulled in his equipment during a training session later that night. Unfortunately his speargun is no more — only the handle and trigger portion, sporting a few bite marks, was still attached to the buoy when it was snagged.‘The main thing I learned is to be a lot more careful,' Magneson said, noting he probably should not have been diving alone where he was.”  Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Manhattan Beach   —   On January 12, 2015 Alan Latteri and Barklie Griggs were SUP boarding at El Porto in Manhattan Beach. It was about 1:00 PM and they had been on the water about 90 minutes. The sky was overcast with the air temperature in the mid-60s Fahrenheit. The surf was running 6 foot sets over a sandy ocean bottom about 15 feet deep with 6 – 10 feet of water visibility. Several dolphin swam were in the area and at least one Sea Lion was observed swimming thru the line up doing tail flips. Latteri reported;“I was surfing North of tower 45 in front of the rocks at El Porto. I had fallen in the water a couple of times and my buddy Barklie was motioning and yelling something at me. I couldn't hear what he was saying, but once I paddle up to him, he said that an 8 foot, ‘girthy,' Great White Shark was swimming North bound quite close me. I never saw it. He said it was just under the surface so none of the fins were visible. He said it was not the usual 6 foot juveniles; this one had some width and weight to it.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

Ventura   —   On January 10, 2015 Maverick Carey and his friend Trent Stevens were about 400 yards from shore at Surfers Point, Ventura, located near C Street and sometimes referred to as Surfers Point. It was 3:00 PM and they had been on the water about one hour. The sky was cloudy with occasional light rain and an off shore ESE 5 – 10 mph breeze with an estimated air temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit. There were an additional 50 – 60 surfers in the area with an estimated water temperature in the low 60s Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Carey reported;“Trent and I were sitting in the lineup with my friend waiting for the next set when we saw a Great White Shark breach completely out of the water, about 10 – 12 feet into the air. The shark was 400 – 500 yards further out and was at least 10 feet in length with a defined line of demarcation between the upper dorsal dark color and the white belly. We did not see the shark breach again.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

 

 

 


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