Huntington Beach

Large Thresher Shark Washes Ashore on Sunset Beach

A great white was spotted in the same area 10 days before.

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A 13-foot-long thresher shark washed up on Sunset Beach Wednesday with a hook in its mouth.

Finding a shark of that size and getting so close is uncommon. Most sharks sink at sea when they become sick, and the ones that strand are smaller juveniles, biologists said.

Ten days before, a great white shark was spotted in the same area as the thresher. Lifeguards closed the waters for a mile north and south of where it was seen for four hours.

But beachgoers at the Orange County beach don't seem too worried.

"When I'm in Hawaii, I think about the sharks," beachgoer Kahlelah Croom-Hamer said. "The water being so shallow and warm makes me think about the sharks."

Sharks come to the waters off the coast to give birth this time of year. The thresher shark was not pregnant.

"The other possibility is that it has a disease," said Chris Lowe, a marine biologist and Director of the Shark Lab at California State University Long Beach. "We work very closely with the state, pathologists, to try to figure out if there is a disease involved, what is it, and is it going to spread?"

Although it could take weeks to determine what killed the shark, the mammal's death could lead to more answers about what causes that type of shark to die.

"The more sharks Fish and Wildlife looks at, the better picture we get," said Mark Okihiro, a pathologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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