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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.


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.




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.