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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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  • 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:uh (Score:5, Informative)

    by tyrus568 (644456) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @06:36AM (#30070802)

    Not to mention the novel. Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws, has stated that he regrets the perception that his work created of great white sharks.

    Apparently, he didn't really know anything about sharks back then. Did anybody, even scientists? No. Mr. Benchley has offered the opinion that he wouldn't have written the book if he had known anything near what we know today, 'at least not in good conscience.'

    Peter Benchley became an ocean conservationist later in life. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2006.

    According to Wikipedia, "Benchley was a member of the National Council of Environmental Defense and a spokesman for its Oceans Program: "[T]he shark in an updated Jaws could not be the villain; it would have to be written as the victim; for, worldwide, sharks are much more the oppressed than the oppressors."

    Just so you know.

  • 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.

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