Sharks increasing off U.S. west coast
September 21, 2010 4:50am CST
SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) -- Great white sharks are being seen off the U.S. west coast in what California wildlife experts say are increasing numbers. Great whites attacked kayakers on two separate occasions last month, pushing the number of verified great white shark attacks on humans in California to 102 since 1952, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday. "There seems to be more sharks in the water, but we don't have enough evidence yet to support that," John McCosker, a shark expert at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, said. "There have certainly been more sightings." Most shark attacks in California occur between July and November, McCosker said. "The reason is there are a lot of seals and sea lions in the area at this time of year," McCosker said. "The salmon are returning to the Sacramento River, the sea lions are following them and the sharks are following them. Meanwhile, the surfers are doing their best to imitate shark food." Sharks have killed 11 people off the California coast, most of them surfers, since the first documented human attack 58 years ago, the Chronicle said. Great white sharks, known scientifically as Carcharodon carcharias, grow as long as 20 feet and weigh 3 tons. The biggest ever recorded was caught in 1939 and was 21 feet long and weighed 7,300 pounds, McCosker said.
• United Kingdom
1 Oct 10
It is a shame that 11 people have been killed off the Californian coast since 1958. Having been to the East Coast of Australia I know how keen surfers are about their hobby. I was in a beach town a week after a person was killed by a shark. The surfers were still out there and they were enjoying the waves. To a great white shark a person in a dark wet suit might appear to be a seal. When I was by the lighthouse in Northland in New Zealand I was about to go down the steps to the beach. Then someone spotted a shark and suddenly all the people rushed out of the water. I traveled to French Polynesia and went snorkeling with black tipped reef sharks. They have sharp teeth but they are not so large or dangerous. In Belize I went snorkeling with nurse sharks and they are gentle animals. In the Maldives I was paddling and saw a few baby sharks in the swallow water. I have heard whale sharks are lovely to dive with. However white sharks are large and can kill people. In South Africa they do cage diving with the large and dangerous sharks. I prefer to snorkel with reef fish. I have snorkeled with sting rays too. A few years ago Steve Urwin, an Australian wildlife television presenter was killed by a sting ray. I was shocked by that since I thought they were a gentle animal. Sure enough great white sharks are not friendly around people.
• United States
22 Sep 10
Yeah, there's been more sightings. One guy was killed on my favorite beach, not eaten, but killed. Have you ever seen an aquarium fish try to eat something they thought looked like food and then spit it out when they realized it wasn't what they'd like? That's what sharks do to people.