MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A rash of sightings of baby great white sharks off the coast of California is no cause for alarm, say the experts.
The sharks are not looking for human prey. But pray tell, why so many?
The sharks are looking to feed on stingrays, say marine biology experts.
KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen spoke to swimmers and surfers who encountered the sharks up close Saturday.
Manhattan Beach resident Simon Swart shot video of his encounter with the sharks this morning. Swart was paddle boarding with his son Max — a junior lifeguard — and some friends when they ran into a group of sharks swimming by.
Swart is heard on the video imploring his group to look down into the water.
“They’re coming towards you. They’re right under you! Look down,” said Swart.
“No! I’m not going to look down,” said a female friend in their group.
Swart told Nguyen, “My son was kind of my spotter. And he goes ‘Dad, dad, it’s right over here.’ And so I pulled the camera out of my pocket and started filming.”
Swart says he first spotted sharks at El Porto about a year-and-a-half ago. Since then, he’s seen about one a month.
“What I’ll try and do is put my board my board as close as possible just to see how big they are,” Swart says.
Lifeguards have also noticed there’s been a rise in great white shark sightings in recent weeks. The majority are juveniles about 6 feet long.
With the popularity of smaller waterproof devices we’re seeing more sightings captured on camera.
“Do not chase them down with your stand up paddle or try to paddle over to them, don’t pet it. Or stick a GoPro in its face. We want people a safe distance away,” said Capt. Kenichi Haskett, a LA County Lifeguard.
According to Heal the Bay, there have 13 fatal great white shark attacks in California since the 1920s.
Simon Swart says that number shouldn’t go up — if you apply common sense.
“I’m not interested in jumping in or trying to grab them or play with them or anything like that. I just want to watch them and observe them.” Swart says.