Shark advisory for Santa Cruz Co.

October 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Even though attacks are rare, not many people want to hit the ocean when sharks are in the water. There is an advisory out for swimmers and surfers in Santa Cruz County. Shark sightings along a five mile stretch of beach from Seacliff State Beach to Manreesa State Beach.

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There is home video of a small great white that was shot near the Seacliff pier in Aptos on Thursday.

The fisherman who taped it says he saw the same shark in the same place on Wednesday. And on Friday, researchers from the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation saw a16-foot great white, near Manresa State Beach. That makes three shark sightings, in three days.

"It may seem alarming a lot of people, but the sharks are always around, especially this time of year," says Sean Van Sommeran from the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation.

Van Sommeran spotted the adult great white Friday. At this time every year he sees anywhere from 12 to 48 sharks migrating north, through Santa Cruz County to feed. He doesn't call this series of sightings "alarming," just something for the public to be aware of.

"If they were to close the beach on every report, even the verified reports, the beach would be mostly closed. The sharks are seen that often," says Van Sommeran.

Lifeguards told some swimmers about the sightings, but state park officials chose not to put up signs. They didn't feel they were necessary since the sharks weren't threatening anyone or anything. Some locals disagree with the park's decision.

"If somebody sees a sign they're going to go 'Okay, it's my choice whether I go in or not.' And then there's not a question of whether or not they knew," says Corky Cochran from Santa Cruz County.

Friday's shark sighting took place only about a mile north of Seascape Resort. That's why management warned guests going to the beach to be careful. Some guests even got flyers and chose to stay out of the water.

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