California shark cluster
Shark expers say a cluster of some 20 great white sharks was recently spotted by the U.S. Coast Guard off Northern California’s coast.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports Saturday that the shark cluster was seen swimming together last week about 100 yards (90 metres) offshore near the city of Pacifica.
Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary spokeswoman Mary Jane Schramm says two Coast Guard helicopters flying 500 feet (150 metres) above the ocean spotted the group on Oct. 16.
Schramm says most of the sharks were between 10 and 15 feet (3 and 4.5 metres) long and a couple of them were about 18 feet (5.4 metres) long.
“An unusual number of juvenile white sharks under 10-feet long have been observed this year, likely associated with the unseasonably high water temperatures along the coast,” said David McGuire, the director of Shark Stewards, a nonprofit shark conservation group affiliated with the Earth Island Institute. “But an 18-foot shark is a very large, mature shark and can cause considerable harm to seals or humans.”
The region’s sharks can grow up to 21 feet (6.3 metres) and weigh as much as 7,000 pounds. They typically return from the deep ocean to feed at the Farallon Islands this time of year.