A new shark sighting off the Santa Cruz, California, shores Sunday marked the second spotting of a Great White shark in a 24-hour period. This second sighting caused authorities to ban surfing and swimming until Thursday of this week as they try to figure out what is behind the sudden appearance of rare, aggressive sharks in the area.
While Great White sharks are known to populate the waters off of Santa Cruz and Monterey, due to the plentiful supply of seals there, the sharks normally shy away from contact with humans. Since 1916, the entire state of California has confirmed just 81 Great White shark attacks. Santa Cruz County has recorded only eight shark attacks against humans since 1880, and none have resulted in the death of the victim.
As reported by the Inquisitr, a Great White shark attacked a surfer at Manresa State Beach, 150 feet offshore in the Santa Cruz area Saturday evening at about 6:45 p.m. Almost exactly 22 hours later and about 12 miles away, a marine biologist at Seabright State Beach spotted a Great White shark attacking and apparently feeding on a seal, also about 150 feet off the coastline. The biologist said she saw the shark hit the seal and throw the animal high into the air above the surface of the water. She soon saw blood in the water — but that was the last she saw of the seal as she was unable to determine if the animal survived the shark attack.
The shark also disappeared. But the pair of rare shark sightings bunched together in less than a single day set off an immediate reaction from park authorities, sending out a warning of possible shark attack that they say remains in effect for three days. After park rangers interviewed Beau Browning, the 42-year-old surfer who emerged terrified but unharmed from Saturday’s shark attack, Manresa State Beach was closed with surfing as well as swimming banned within a one-mile radius of the reported shark attack.
Though surfers and swimmers would be fined if caught in the water before the ban in lifted, State Park Ranger Joe Conners said that the parks simply do not have enough manpower to actively enforce the ban. The state relies on individuals exercising their common sense and keeping out of the water. Twin Lakes beach and the City of Santa Cruz Beach have also posted warnings for swimmers to stay out of the water until authorities are confident that there will not be another shark attack there.