Environment

Great white shark sightings reported in Morro Bay

Signs posted around Morro Bay over the weekend warned beachgoers about a confirmed shark sighting on Friday.

California State Parks Supt. Dan Falat said the agency received two reports of a great white shark around Friday afternoon and evening.

The shark was reportedly about 8 to 9 feet in length, according to Eric Endersby, Morro Bay Harbor Director.

“I believe it was spotted by surfers,” Endersby told The Tribune in an email.

According to the posted notices, the shark was spotted about 100 yards west of the entrance to the Morro Strand Campground.

Following the reported sightings, California State Parks officials posted the signs “just so people are aware,” Falat said.

“Sharks are a natural part of the ocean ecosystem,” Falat said. “This is a reminder that there has been one seen, but they’re not looking for us.”

The warning expires Monday.

Endersby said there was another confirmed sighting on Saturday, about 50 yards offshore from Morro Bay High School. That shark was also spotted by a surfer, and had an estimated length of 8 to 10 feet.

And on Aug. 7, lifeguards in Cayucos spotted a great white shark, also about 8 to 10 feet in length, leaping out of the water just outside the surf line, Endersby said.

“From witness statements and camera footage, (although a bit fuzzy), it was pretty clearly a ‘small’ great white,” Endersby said in an email.

Endersby said he believes all the sightings have likely been of the same shark.

In recent years, great white shark sightings have increased along the Central Coast, based on factors including warmer waters and shifting hunting patterns.

In January, a great white shark attacked a Cal Poly student while he was surfing at Montaña de Oro State Park. In May of 2018, a pilot reported at least 13 large sharks swimming in the Pismo State Beach area.

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Gabby Ferreira is a breaking news and general assignment reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. A native of Houston, Texas, she was a reporter in Tucson, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Palm Springs, California, before moving to San Luis Obispo County in 2016.
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