A couple strolling along the Hermosa Pier, south of Manhattan Beach, sighted a juvenile great white shark this weekend, marking the latest encounter to occur during a year in which the predators have become increasingly common in the South Bay.
Thomas Super and his girlfriend were walking along the pier on Sunday when they noticed a shadow moving under the surface of the water, according to Easy Reader News. At first, they thought they were observing a dolphin, a common occurrence in the area, yet after a few moments, the animal’s true identity became clear.
“One of the fishermen who was on that side of the pier said ‘Holy cow, that’s a shark!'” Super noted.
Super estimated the great white was between seven and eight feet in length, a common size for a juvenile. Though white sharks of this size are unlikely to threaten humans without provocation, Super was concerned for several swimmers around the pier. His fear was short lived, however, as the great white began to make its way back out to sea before they were alerted to its presence.
The sighting comes less than a week after California State University Long Beach professor Chris Lowe delivered a presentation on white sharks in the South Bay to the Hermosa Beach City Council. As the Beach Reporter notes, he asserted that an increase in the population of seals and sea lions, combined with improved water quality, have made the area a more attractive habitat for great whites. Adult females of two dozen shark species are increasingly giving birth near South Bay, as higher water temperatures have prevented the sharks from migrating south to Baja, Mexico.
The great white shark can smell a seal colony from two miles away pic.twitter.com/AGIUhB0xUo
— Sharkingaround (@sharkingaround) October 31, 2014
“All of these species use our offshore waters as their primary nursery ground for the entire North Pacific,” Lowe said. “The Santa Monica Bay is unique. There’s something special about this bay.”
Lowe also asserted that the uptick in the shark population, combined with increased human activity in the water, has led to a situation in which beachgoers and sharks must deal with one another. Earlier this year, just such an interaction occurred, when a swimmer was bitten by a great white off Manhattan Beach pier. As the Inquisitr noted, the shark had been hooked by a fisherman, and was under duress when it struck out, fighting for its life.
Super noted that he hadn’t previously sighted a white shark so far south. After circling the area for several minutes, the great white returned to deeper waters, an example of the increasing presence of sharks in the South Bay.
[Images: Tom Super via Easy Rider News]