Large shark spotted swimming near Pismo Beach Pier

The extended Shark Week continues on the Central Coast.

After surfers and paragliders continued to report large shark sightings from Cayucos to Morro Bay, video evidence of a large shark swimming next to the Pismo Beach Pier surfaced on social media Saturday.

A video taken by Arroyo Grande teen Joel Bishop shows what appears to be a great white shark swimming just off the pier at the popular Pismo Beach.

Longtime local surfer Walt Cerny shared the video on his Instagram page.

“More sightings in 3 last weeks than I can recall in the last 30 years,” Cerny wrote.

Andy McKay, who owns Surfside Donuts in Pismo Beach with his wife Carin, shared another video taken Saturday that shows a similar sized shark that also appears to be a great white.

McKay said he was walking with his wife shortly after 8 a.m. when they saw the shark a little more than three-quarters of the way out on the Pismo Beach Pier. He estimated the shark to be about 8 feet long.

A juvenile great white shark was caught and released early Saturday afternoon at the Pismo Beach Pier, according to Todd Tognazzini, patrol lieutenant at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Fish and Wildlife received a call from the Pismo Beach Police Department at 12:50 p.m. Saturday with a report that a juvenile great white shark measuring about 4 1/2 feet long had been caught.

The shark had already been released by the time authorities from Fish and Wildlife arrived on scene, but they were able to review video footage of the capture to ensure that the shark had been properly released.

It is legal to catch great white sharks as long as the animal is both caught and released properly; the shark must be uninjured and released immediately, Tognazzini said.

This is the second reported incident of a great white shark being caught off the Pismo Beach Pier recently. Authorities are seeking information regarding a juvenile great white shark that was caught a couple weeks ago that may have been injured before being released, Tognazzini said.

According to information the department has received, the shark may have been caught using a gaff hook — a very large hook used to land fish. The hook can often harm fish, and it’s illegal to use a gaff hook on fish that are illegal to catch.

It appears as though the great white shark was possibly gaffed and then brought onto the pier where photos were taken with it, Tognazzini said. It appears that the shark was not immediately released.

Authorities are offering a reward for information about the incident. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the anonymous CalTIP number at 888-334-2258.


Is it still shark week? #sharkweek #pismobeach #surfsidedonuts #stumptowncoffee @andymckay1969

A video posted by Surfside Donuts (@surfsidedonuts) on

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