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Pacific Coast Shark News 2017

The following reports for 2017 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 for 2015 click here and for 2016 click here .


NOTICE  — We have recently experienced some difficutly in reviewing Encounter Reports. For those that have observed a reduction in these accounts please know we have resolved the issue and will be more timely in our posting of these notices as they are received. Until further notice please use the Shark Attack form for all reports. I thank you for your understanding and patience and hope you will continue to send us your encounters, sightings, and observations.


NOTICE  —  SRC Guadalupe Island Expedition, November 28th – December 2nd 2017

The 2015 and 2016 Shark Research Committee Guadalupe Island Expedition's were an overwhelming success. The White Sharks encountered during these two expeditions ranged in size from 12 – 18 feet and provided excellent subjects for our Expedition Members to observe, photograph and film. Due to the tremendous response last year and the previous year, we have been asked to sponsor a third trip for 2017. Our host will again be Jimi Partington of Shark Diving Xperts and the superb crew of Islander Charters. If you would like to participate in the Shark Research Committee Guadalupe Expedition 2017 and require further information please email: sharkresearch@aol.com. Space is limited so make your reservation today. Don't miss this opportunity to dive with these magnificent Apex Predators; it will be a remarkable adventure that you will remember for a lifetime.


Pacific Beach   —   On April 10, 2017 Roxanne Vettese was surfing at Tourmaline Surf Park just south of Life Guard Tower 28 at the Northern end of Pacific Beach, located a short distance South of where the sand beach ends and the rocky promontory of La Jolla begins. It was 12:30 PM and she had been on the water less than 5 minutes. The sky was clear with a brisk West-North-West breeze at about 10 knots and an estimated air temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean had 3 – 4 foot swells at 13 seconds over a sandy/cobble bottom 15 – 20 feet deep with an estimated water temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. No large kelp plants were observed although a significant amount of sea grass was suspended in the water column. Vettese reported;“I was paddling out through the shore break and had just made it past the breakers and into calm water when the shark surfaced about 3 feet away from the front of my surfboard. It was swimming South. It was not agitated or aggressive. It stayed on the surface for maybe 5 seconds and then sank beneath the surface. That is when I got a good look at the tail as it swam away from shore, still heading South. The shark was 5 – 6 feet in length, stocky, not sleek, broad, triangular dorsal fin with a ragged trailing edge, about 8 inches in height. It had a proportional tail that I saw under the water, vertical, close to the same length on top as on the bottom. The shark was bluish to gray brown in color. I thought I saw flashes of white on the underside as it swam away.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


Oxnard Shores   —   On April 7, 2017 Adam McKillican was surfing about 70 yards from the beach at Oxnard Shores in front of Neptune Square Park. It was 11:00 AM and he had been on the water about 15 minutes. There was a light overcast with a mild south breeze and an estimated air temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was calm with the sandy bottom 15 – 20 from the surface and an estimated water temperature of 56 degrees Fahrenheit. No marine mammals were observed in the area. McKillican reported;“I was surfing alone in front of my apartment. I was the only person in the water. The surf was head high to slightly over head. I paddled back out after catching a wave and my foot was sliding around on the wax. Once I got back outside I got off my board and made lines in my wax to make it have better grip. I climbed back on my board when I looked out to see if any waves were coming when I saw a shark fin about 12 feet away from me swimming very slowly south. The fin was about 10 inches high and no tail fin showed. The shark slowly came to a stop and then just dropped under the surface. I could see the shadow and it looked to be about 10 feet in length. The shark stayed in that position for a second or two, and then turned toward me. It began to swim directly at me picking up speed. I immediately turned and caught a wave,(thank God). I never looked back and if it were not for the wave at that time I can only speculate what that shark was intending in doing. I have swum with sharks many times in my life, I am a free diver and have encountered sharks many times over my life. I know a shark that is just looking at you and checking you out. This one had a completely different energy to it and I am sure it was at least going to taste me to see if I was edible.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.  


Monterey   —   On March 18, 2017 Brian Correiar was kayaking in Monterey Bay a little past 4:30PM. He recalled;“I had paddled from the Breakwater ramp to Shell Street in Pacific Grove and was on my way back. I was hit off the end of San Carlos Beach about 100 yards or so off the Monterey Bay Inn - probably over Metridium. Suddenly, I heard a loud bang as my kayak and I flew into the air. I landed outside my boat, look back to my horror saw a large great white shark no more than three feet away had my kayak in its mouth. I could clearly see its 2-inch teeth and its black eye that looked lifeless. I scrambled away from my boat as fast as I could and started kicking towards shore. After five minutes I pulled out my Nautilus Lifeline and called in a mayday to the coast guard. They were having trouble hearing me. I spotted a sail boat and started frantically waving to them with my right arm as I operated the radio with my left hand. While this was going on, the shark was using my boat as a chew toy. I saw it spin with the boat at least three times. It started pushing the boat towards me and then left the boat and headed for me. Suddenly it dove. I put my face in the water to see if it was under me, but I couldn't see anything. I looked up and saw the sail boat approaching me. After some very quick explanations I said that I needed to get into the small boat. There was no ladder or transom. I had been in the water for about twenty minutes. I was wearing a 3-mil, but had forgotten my booties and my feet were numb and I was running on nothing but adrenaline. I could not get up into the boat or stand up on their motor. I asked them to call 911 and ask for coast guard assistance. The coast guard showed up 5 minutes later and pulled me into their boat. All my gear was floating and was recovered. They took me back to the Breakwater. According to witnesses the shark was as big as my boat, which is 14 feet in length. Bite marks show that it had the whole girth of the boat in its mouth. My boat is covered with bite marks from end to end with multiple punctures. People told me that they could see the shark slapping the surface of the water with its fins as it mauled my boat.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


Ventura   —   On March 12, 2017 Chad Stratton and Natascha Novobilski were kayaking near California Street, also referred to as C Street or Ventura Point, in Ventura. It was about 3:30 PM with the morning fog just beginning to lift. Stratton recalled;“I think it was almost low-tide when we ‘paddled in' directly in front of the lagoon. We were out to ride waves, which were running 2 – 3 feet. After 45 minutes of epic fun my friend paddled to shore. I went in to ask what was wrong. She said she felt off. I said, ‘I'll go first. Just follow me.' I was 60 yards out when I spotted a dorsal fin. At first I thought it was a dolphin. I estimate that it was 20 yards in front of me and in-between swells. As I slowly moved a little closer I saw the tail fin and then the adrenalin kicked in. No indication of a blow hole. No characteristic hooked dorsal that a dolphin has. The dorsal was around 1foot high. It was too foggy and murky to identify the species. I turned around and caught the first wave I could. Natascha witnessed the entire event. We packed up and went to the Barrlehouse.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


San Onofre State Beach   —   On March 11, 2017 Jack Webster was surfing Trail 3 at San Onofre State Beach. It was about 10:15 AM and he had been on the water about 5 minutes. There was a rapidly clearing fog with the wind out of the West at 3 knots. Air and water temperatures were recorded at 65 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The ocean was calm over a sandy ocean bottom with scattered rocks and a depth of 6 – 8 feet with comparable water visibility. No large dominant algae or marine mammals were present in the area. Webster reported;“I paddled out about 50 yards off shore, and sat waiting for my first wave. There was an object in the water about 250 yards South of my position that may have been a seal or sea lion carcass. After about 5 minutes a dorsal fin, about 1.5 feet high, popped up approximately 10 feet in front of my board. The fin tracked slowly in the water and moved South to North and did not submerge. I turned and paddled back to shore, and told another surfer on the beach that there was a shark in the water. There was one other person in the water at the time, and they paddled in as well and said they had seen the shark as well. We waited about 15 minutes and did not see the shark again and decided to paddle back out. For the next 30 minutes, I continued to surf until I saw the shadow of a shark in the trough of a wave that was beginning to form. It was oriented to the North and was moving very slowly to the North. The shadow of the shark was very clear against the sandy bottom of the ocean floor and the sun at my back. The fish appeared to be 8 – 10 feet in length and was undoubtedly a great white shark based on its shape and pectoral fins. I paddled in and got out of the water after the second encounter.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


Huntington Beach   —   On February 22, 2017 Orange County Register journalist Lelan Connelly reported the following; "The species is illegal to catch, so when an angler unknowingly reeled a 500-pound, eight-foot-long Great White Shark onto the shore at Sunset Beach about 2 p.m. Tuesday, February 21st, there was no choice but to get it back in the water.‘They didn't want to get bit, obviously,' said Huntington Beach Marine Safety Officer Michael Bartlett, who was patrolling the area and approached just as five men were pushing the shark back into the sea. This was the latest in a series of Great White incidents in recent weeks. A week ago a shark was hooked from the Huntington Beach Pier – but freed when the line broke. The area was put under a 24-hour advisory. There were no closures. While most fishermen catch perch and other small-shore fish from the beach, these anglers were going after bigger catch. In this area, near Warner Avenue bordering Bolsa Chica State Beach, there's a big trench in the water at the shoreline about eight feet deep. The anglers said they were looking for thresher sharks.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


Del Mar   —   On February 21, 2017 Rich Campbell was surfing Del Mar Beach at the 8th Street Reef break. It was 10:15 AM and he had been on the water about 20 minutes. The sky was clear with a very light breeze and an estimated air temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit. The ocean was smooth with a light surface texture and waves 4 – 5 feet with a larger set from time to time. Water visibility was poor with an estimated temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit and a depth of about 10 feet. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Campbell reported;“I had just paddled out to the lineup, and was waiting for a set. While looking out to sea I saw a shark surface about 50 yards outside of surf zone. It rolled to expose its white belly then submerged. I immediately noticed the claspers, black back and white belly. I didn't see the mouth or tail, but shark appeared to be at least 3 feet wide and the portion of the body I saw was at least 8 feet long. I've been surfing over 30 years, and am 100 percent confident this was a White Shark.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


Del Mar   —   On February 8, 2017 Eric Brye was surfing at 18th Street Beach in Del Mar. It was 1:50 PM and he had been on the water about 40 minutes. There was a heavy fog that limited visibility to about 100 yards and kept the air temperature at a mild 68 degrees Fahrenheit with a mild breeze. The ocean was calm with 2 – 3 foot surf at a estimated low tide of -1.2 feet and extremely poor water visibility of only 1 – 2 feet. The water was about 6 feet deep over a sandy ocean bottom with scattered kelps from a recent storm floating in the surf zone. No marine mammals were observed in the area. Brye reported;“I had paddled out to the outer break sandbar 3 or 4 times in the previous 40 minutes. On my last trip out I had just passed the outer break when I saw the fin break the surface approximately 50 feet away, Southwest of my position. The fin rose out of the water completely, showing the full height of 2 – 2.5 feet and a portion of the back in front and behind the dorsal fin as it slowly submerged. I observed the fin for about 5 seconds or so. The shark was traveling North, along the outer sandbar and did not seem to notice my presence. Due to poor water visibility I could not see the shark after the fin submerged, and promptly paddled smoothly in to shore. No whales, dolphins or seals were seen in the previous 40 minutes and no other surfers were visible. The fin was a dark grey, triangular in shape and 2 – 2.5 feet in height. It was slightly curved backwards at the tip and fairly straight down in the back, with ragged edges on the back. The shark was swimming just seaward of the outermost sandbar, South to North, approximately 50 feet from me. Fin rose out completely out of the water smoothly, exposing some of the shark's back then slowly submerged. The shark was not swimming towards me, I was ~30 feet inshore of its position, and it was swimming parallel to the shore.” Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


San Onofre State Beach   —   On January 8, 2017 Mark Wolff was surfing Trail 1 at San Onofre State Beach. It was about 3:30 PM and he had been on the water 2 hours. Water and air temperatures were estimated at 58 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. The sky was clear with a few high scattered clouds with almost an undetectable breeze. The ocean was smooth and glassy with occasional 2 foot waves in sets of 2 over a bottom of sand and rock. Water visibility was 4 – 5 feet with the depth about 6 feet. Wolff reported;“I was sitting on outer edge of the surf break zone waiting for a wave when I observed slight turbulence on the water surface approximately 15 feet due seaward of my position. I occasionally saw approximately 1 – 2 inches of a dorsal fin above the water surface; approximately the same amount of caudal fin was also visible, but with less frequency. The distance between the dorsal and caudal fin was approximately 4 feet. Shark sightings are common here, so I sat calmly and watched, but sun glare on the water prevented me from seeing anything below the surface. The shark swam in slow, lazy circles beyond the break for several minutes. At one point the shark turned and swam slowly and directly toward me. As calmly as I could, I paddled toward the beach. When I reached a water depth of approximately 2 feet, I turned to look for the shark and briefly observed about 1 inch of dorsal fin approximately 15 feet Southwest of my original position. I continued to watch the water for several minutes, but did not see the shark again. I left the water a few minutes later. ” Please report any shark encounter, sighting, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.


On February 8, 2017 Amanda and Mitch Thrower of Events.com reported an injured pinniped on the beach at the Children's Pool in La Jolla. It was around 8:00 AM when it was observed and photographed. Amanda said the animal appeared to be alive though it was separated from the rest of the seals on the beach by some distance. It was not possible for her to determine whether the injury the animal had sustained would be life threatening to the animal. An attempt will be made to report this incident to local marine mammal rescue groups in hopes the animal can be rescued. Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.











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