A young female salmon shark washed ashore at Pismo Beach on Friday morning, surprising those walking or running on the beach.
A few people took photos of the shark with their cell phones, while several pooches stopped to give it a sniff.
A biologist identified the creature as a salmon shark, so named because it likes to eat salmon, as well as other kinds of fish. Juvenile salmon sharks wash ashore several times a year locally, said Mike Harris, a Fish and Game biologist out of Morro Bay.
“It’s not unusual,” he said. “They are almost always mistaken for a baby white shark.”
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According to a guidebook about Pacific Coast fish, salmon sharks range from Japan and Korea to the Bering Sea and south along the West Coast to Baja California. They can swim to a depth of 500 feet and typically get as close to shore as the breaker line.
Males reach a length of 6 to 8 feet. Salmon sharks are gray or black to dark blue. They often have blotches or mottling on their underside.
California Department of Fish and Game officials were working to transfer the shark to UC Santa Cruz for research.