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Great White Sharks Visiting San Francisco 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-left-my-harp-seal-in-San-Francisco dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "Juliet Eilperin writes in the Washington Post that while for years, humans have thought of great white sharks as wandering the sea at random, only occasionally venturing close to shore, it turns out we were wrong. Scientists lured 179 great white sharks to their boat with a carpet decoy designed to look like a seal, and used a lance to attach satellite tags with the aid of 2.3-inch titanium darts to track the sharks and discovered that Pacific white sharks spend months near the northern and central California coast between August and February, foraging among elephant seals, sea lions, and other prey. The sharks were spotted as far inland as the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, east of the Golden Gate Bridge. 'It shows you how wild it is off our West Coast of North America. This is Yellowstone,' says Stanford University marine sciences professor Barbara A. Block. The fact that 'a major concentration' of great whites can ignore humans 'shows us the sharks are really minding their own business. The number of interactions with people is very small, considering,' says Salvador J. Jorgensen."
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Great White Sharks Visiting San Francisco

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  • by cjfs (1253208) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @04:14AM (#30070226) Homepage Journal
    ... and there was no mention of laser beams (frickin' or otherwise), so move along now.
  • I for one (Score:1, Redundant)

    by AuMatar (183847)

    welcome our San Francisco Bay shark overlords

    • by conureman (748753)

      I never enjoyed swimming in the ocean, I have friends that surf, but I eschew the proximity with hungry locals. I have never felt this was an irrational fear, nor do I bother debating it with others. I rolled a kayak in Richardson Bay once, back in the seventies. That shit didn't wash off for a week. Clean Water Act FTW!

    • by belgar (254293)

      You know, I always knew that this shot [wordpress.com] ACTUALLY happened. This just confirms it!

  • Am I'm the only one that misread "foraging" as "fraging" ?
    • by cjfs (1253208)

      Fraging amongst their prey?

      Now I have an image of a shark at a lan party stuck in my head.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        *gasp*! LAN Shark, cleverest species of them all!

    • by PitaBred (632671)
      Since it's properly spelled "fragging [reference.com]", I'd say you probably are.
  • by Scholasticus (567646) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @04:21AM (#30070270) Journal
    [Scene: A New York apartment. Someone knocks on the door.] Woman: [not opening the door] Yes? Voice: (mumbling) Mrs. Arlsburgerhhh? Woman: What? Voice: (mumbling) Mrs. Johannesburrrr? Woman: Who is it? Voice: [pause] Flowers. Woman: Flowers for whom? Voice: [long pause] Plumber, ma'am. Woman: I don't need a plumber. You're that clever shark, aren't you? Voice: [pause] Candygram. Woman: Candygram, my foot. You get out of here before I call the police. You're the shark, and you know it. Voice: Wait. I-I'm only a dolphin, ma'am. Woman: A dolphin? Well...okay. [opens door].
  • by failedlogic (627314) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @04:23AM (#30070280)

    Love the first paragraph in TFA that points out the obvious: "For years, humans have thought of great white sharks wandering the sea at random, only occasionally venturing close to shore."

    Holy shit. I always thought "For years, elephants have thought of great white sharks wandering the sea at random, only occasionally venturing close to shore."

    I just learned something today. Guess I thought I knew more about elephants than people. I am sadly mistaken.

    • While slashdot might be considered a human-centric website, there are in fact many visitors from all species. Most websites acknowledge them, posting measurements in metric as opposed to imperial, and specifying which species are the topic without assuming. See the How Vulnerable Is Our Power Grid? [slashdot.org] article for a similar discussion in the comments regarding slashdot's US-centric nature, or and space article for comment discussions of slashdot's Earth-centric nature.

    • Hey, I'm an elephant. And you don't understand me! Because you don't know me at aaaallllll!!!
      *cries*
      *walks away*
      *stompstompstompstompstompstompstompstompstompstompstomp**blowstrunkintohankie**stompstompstompstompstompstompstompstompstompstompstomp*

  • here's a typical shot of a great white in san francisco bay:

    http://www.empireonline.com/features/golden-gate-bridge-in-movies/ [empireonline.com]

  • Quick... (Score:2, Funny)

    by ShakaUVM (157947)

    Quick... someone blame global warming!

    It's to blame anytime anywhere something in the vaguest sense weird happens. WE NEVER HAD ANYTHING WEIRD HAPPEN BEFORE GLOBAL WARMING. EVER.

    Call Al Gore - him staring pensively at great whites will make a great opening to Inconvenient Truth 2 - Revenge of the Evil People Who Didn't Buy Hybrids

    • by digitig (1056110)

      Quick... someone blame global warming!

      Or Microsoft! This must be Microsoft's fault! Or is it the RIAA? Or the US Patent Office? Damn, so many villans!

  • A lawyer who chases ambulances?
  • Jawns (Score:4, Funny)

    by Fotograf (1515543) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @04:47AM (#30070370) Homepage
    boring...
  • really?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @05:11AM (#30070464)
    It's always been common knowledge that great whites come in close to shore, after all their food source lives on the beach. The summary and TFA make it sound like some great revilation that sharks go where their prey goes.... hell here in australia there's a few attacks each year.
    • I was just thinking about Australia's issue. If CA has a large number as well, I wonder Aussies are getting munch so much more? Greater number of sharks, shortage of food supply, or are the sharks down under simply more aggressive?
      • ...or are the sharks down under simply more aggressive?"

        I would guess we have a lot more pointers than CA just because of the scale of their territory and the abundance of prey down here, but not all attacks are white pointers, mako sharks and the now rare grey nurse shark (amoung others) are also known to attack people.

        For once I agree witb timmarthy (the GP), it's common knowledge in Australia that swimming/surfing anywhere near a seal colony is tempting fate (especially near dusk or dawn).

        Oz Tri
      • I was just thinking about Australia's issue. If CA has a large number as well, I wonder Aussies are getting munch so much more?

        More people in the water due to the water being warmer?

      • by Matt_R (23461)

        I was just thinking about Australia's issue. If CA has a large number as well, I wonder Aussies are getting munch so much more? Greater number of sharks, shortage of food supply, or are the sharks down under simply more aggressive?

        Well we do have a larger coastline than CA :) And down here, we have sharks eating other sharks.

        Shark C-Section [sky.com]

        10-ft shark eaten by even bigger shark [telegraph.co.uk]

    • Furthermore, it has been long known that these sharks frequent the Farallon Islands, near the coast of Northern California: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farallon_Islands#Sharks [wikipedia.org]

    • by stockard (1431131)
      Yep, there have been a number of biologists studying great whites for a few decades near the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco. There's even a book, The Devil's Teeth [amazon.com], detailing a shark season with the biologists.
  • I am not afraid of Great White Sharks, but I am very afraid (after reading Dan Brown) of the EFF Sharks [vietnamcayda.com]!

  • They are hungry for Twinkies. :o
  • Such beautiful creatures. Although I'm glad not to see them in the bay here in Melbourne.
  • Ignore humans? (Score:5, Informative)

    by SvnLyrBrto (62138) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @06:30AM (#30070776)

    Relatively few humans are crazy enough to swim near the Golden Gates in the first place. There's a reason Alcatraz was such a secure prison, despite being a fairly short swim away from San Francisco; and it has nothing to do with sharks. Hypothermia, fast tides and currents, a rocky coastline, and a major shipping channel are not very conducive to happyfunbeachday.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Plus, Great Whites hate the smell of B.O. and patchouli.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Relatively few humans are crazy enough to swim near the Golden Gates in the first place.

      Maybe not directly under the Golden Gate, but you don't have to go very far to still be in sight of the bridge and find a beach and/or a place where people surf.

      It's not like a shark can't travel distance or anything. So, maybe a 5 minute cruise for a shark, and there's people there.

      I think what's more relevant here is that there's a lot of sharks in very close proximity to where people actually go. A lot more sharks (

      • by MooseTick (895855)

        I was there in teh summer touring the bay in a boat and it was freezing. Still, there were dozens of people wind surfing around and under the Golden Gate. I don't know how they didn't freeze, but I wonder if they were aware of the shark population under them.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          I was there in teh summer touring the bay in a boat and it was freezing. Still, there were dozens of people wind surfing around and under the Golden Gate. I don't know how they didn't freeze, but I wonder if they were aware of the shark population under them.

          'Freezing' is a word that is pretty elastic depending on where the person using the word is from. Coming from a place with real actual winters (Canada, eh), I've found that a lot of people who say "freezing" have never actually encountered real tempera

      • Relatively few humans are crazy enough to swim near the Golden Gates in the first place.

        Maybe not directly under the Golden Gate, but you don't have to go very far to still be in sight of the bridge and find a beach and/or a place where people surf.

        It's not like a shark can't travel distance or anything. So, maybe a 5 minute cruise for a shark, and there's people there.

        I think what's more relevant here is that there's a lot of sharks in very close proximity to where people actually go. A lot more sharks (and a lot more often) than people had previously realized.

        Cheers

        Try searching YouTube for "surfing Fort Point."
        I've seen people surfing directly under the Golden Gate (singular, for the benefit of the GP) for decades. And as the parent points out, there are several beaches very close to the mouth of the Gate. Additionally, the summary mentioned Great Whites coming east of the Golden Gate Bridge. That's inside the bay, right where those surfers and the aforementioned beaches are located.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          Try searching YouTube for "surfing Fort Point."

          Yeah, shortly after I posted that I googled for "san francisco surfing" and found this [jmg-galleries.com], which clearly shows someone surfing with the Golden Gate in the background.

          People definitely swim and surf relatively close to that area, despite the assertion that humans don't generally do that.

          Cheers

  • Tag (Score:2, Funny)

    by Spacezilla (972723)

    Scientists lured 179 great white sharks to their boat

    What, no "youregonnaneedabiggerboat" tag? I'm disappointed in you, slashdot. :(

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @07:14AM (#30070976)

    Go "Shark Darting" instead!

    You get to peg sharks with 2.3 inch titanium darts!

    It's not a good idea to take a quick dip in the water off the boat, though. I think sharks are smart enough to figure out who threw those painful titanium darts sticking out of their backs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Alex Belits (437) *

      I think sharks are smart enough to figure out who threw those painful titanium darts sticking out of their backs.

      I am pretty sure, sharks' behavior toward tasty meat-filled creatures in front of them is not predicated on recognizing those creatures as related to other events in those sharks' lives.

      Also
      i'm a shark!!! i'm a SHAAAARK!
      suck my titanium daaaart!! I'M A SHAAARK!!

  • Oblig. XKCD (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12, 2009 @08:38AM (#30071236)

    It's all part of scientific outreach: http://xkcd.com/585/

  • So what? Greg Norman has played golf everywhere, it's no big deal.

  • by FatdogHaiku (978357) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:24AM (#30071538)
    In related news, Scientists on the same ship studying shark communication have made a major breakthrough when they repeatedly translated a consistently repeated series of noises from the tagged sharks to mean:
    "Grab your pointy sticks and climb on down here into the water with us you air breathing little assholes!"
  • by hywel_ap_ieuan (892599) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:47AM (#30071742)

    Actually shark researchers have been observing Great Whites returning to the Farallon Islands about 35 miles west of the Golden Gate for over 20 years. This website [sharkresea...mittee.com] doesn't talk about migration and return, but Susan Casey's book The Devil's Teeth does discuss how the researchers on the island saw many of the same sharks returning year after year.

    The surprising things in the research (as opposed to the article) are the genetic distinction of the Hawaii-California sharks versus sharks in the Western Pacific, and to a lesser extent the fact that sharks habitually come close to shore but rarely interact with humans.

  • So what? (Score:2, Funny)

    by dvh.tosomja (1235032)

    We need a bigger boat.

  • Was ask albacore fisherman on the West Coast if they had seen any White Sharks.
    Or asked some West coast divers.
    But I guess that wouldn't have been as scientific.
  • Of course it would have been too easy to ask the locals near Stinson Beach, or Dillon Beach.
  • by Alpha830RulZ (939527) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:39AM (#30073302)

    Several years back, an acquaintance of my sister was sea kayaking off of Northern California with her boy friend. They came up missing. They found one of them, I forget which, drifting, dead of blood loss, in the two kayaks which were lashed together. The one they found was missing large chunks of body. The other person was never found. While the sharks seem to mind their own business most of the time, the few exceptions are killers.

    • Are you sure that wasn't attributed to the State Government?
    • by hondo77 (324058) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @01:15PM (#30074734) Homepage
      By "several" I think you mean "twenty" [listphile.com] and by "Northern California" I think you mean "Malibu".
      • Thanks, that looks like it might be the one. The story my sister told differs in some significant respects, which could just be the usual game of Telephone.

    • While the sharks seem to mind their own business most of the time, the few exceptions are killers.

      "Since 1580, when records began, the total number of attacks on humans by sharks has been logged at about 2,200 only. This is equivalent to just 5% of the number of Americans injured by toilets in the year 1996." --Stephen Fry on QI

      Validate the number yourself by looking though the records of the The International Shark Attack File (ISAF). The ISAF is a global database of shark attacks.[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Shark_Attack_File]

  • by al0ha (1262684) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @01:46PM (#30075446) Journal
    The large shadows I've seen and strange unaccounted for splashing noises I've heard over the years, while out in winter surf, which sparked spooky feelings, are definitely something; and something big. Sometimes they are dolphins, but other times, when you don't see a dolphin, man does the hair stand up on the back of your neck....
  • Here in Humboldt Bay, we've got plenty of great whites as well.

    My family likes to fish shark once in a while. When I was a kid my dad and his friend pulled up a great white that was longer than his 14 foot aluminum boat!

    You also hear about shark attacks from great whites at Moonstone Beach (about 20 miles north).
    -------

    I've never thought that the sharks are wandering out in the wide open. Put it this way, the sea lions and seals they eat are at the mouths of rivers (and in the bay) because of the fish sp

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      I've never thought that the sharks are wandering out in the wide open. Put it this way, the sea lions and seals they eat are at the mouths of rivers (and in the bay) because of the fish spawn. The sharks should be found where their food is.

      The sharks do range over several thousands of miles during the year. From California to Hawaii is pretty much as "out in the wide open" as you can get. I suspect they're mostly just passing through the open water bits, but a large shark will have no problem ranging over

  • by geekoid (135745)

    "humans have thought of great white sharks as wandering the sea at random,"

    You must mean humans that don't live near a coast.

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