Young Great White Shark Spotted 100 Yards Off Manhattan Beach

Sightings of great white sharks have been increasing since the mid-2000s, experts say

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    NEWSLETTERS

    For the first time, NBC4 has video of an up-close look at a baby great white shark encounter with a swimmer in Manhattan Beach. Hetty Chang reports for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. from Manhattan Beach Tuesday, June 10, 2014.

    A photographer had quite the fish story to tell after he spotted what experts believe to be a young great white shark swimming alongside paddleboarders in Manhattan Beach waters.

    Footage from photographer Bo Bridges' aerial camera drone taken Monday shows the great white 100 yards off the shore.

    “It was the first thing I saw in a wave, and I thought it was kelp,” Bridges said in an interview Tuesday.

    The photographer said that once he noticed the particular S-curve swim of the creature, he knew it was a shark.

    After surfing in Manhattan Beach nearly every day for 14 years, Bridges said he's only seen one or two sharks -- until recently.

    “I think in the last nine to 12 months, I've seen probably, like, 30,” Bridges said.

    Sightings of young white sharks have been increasing in the area since the mid-2000s, said Dr. Christopher Lowe, professor in the department of biological sciences at California State University, Long Beach.

    “This might sound alarming, but I get multiple sightings a day, typically,” said Captain Kyle Daniels, of the Los Angeles Fire Department Lifeguard Division.

    Lowe said that most of great whites spotted are less than 1 year old, while some are 2 to 3 years old.

    “Once they are over 9 to 10 feet, they seem to start to move north of SoCal and into (Central California) waters,” Lowe said. "We rarely get adult white sharks along our shoreline."

    Experts do not know why young great whites use the beach areas, but theorize that it might be due to stingrays and other easy-to-capture fish that swim along the shore -- great whites do not feed on larger marine mammals until they are older.

    “It’s always going to be scary because of the movie 'Jaws,'” Bridges said.

    Great whites tend to be seen more often during the summer and fall, around the time researchers believe the sharks are giving birth.

    “They don’t really pose a threat to people,” Bridges said. “However, people shouldn’t harass them when they are along our beaches.”

    Last July, multiple sharks were seen swimming off Manhattan Beach with surfers and swimmers nearby. NewsChopper 4 reported seeing at least three sharks within 150 yards of beachgoers in the water.

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