Great whites are misunderstood—but you still don't want one at your beach party.
Anyone who has seen Finding Nemo will remember the sharks chanting their pledge: “I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.” Unfortunately, not all sharks have taken that pledge.
On Tuesday, fisherman off Capitola Wharf reported seeing two sharks—one about 20 feet long, and the other considerably smaller—swimming around their boat. They claim that the sharks were great whites. But were they?
Having a great white in the area is enough to close the beach, but until the sighting can be confirmed, authorities are not prepared to do that. Shark experts are suspicious of the smaller shark swimming along with the much larger one. If the bigger fish was a great white, they point out, a smaller shark would not have risked swimming so close to it. Instead, they say that the shark that was seen was really a basking shark, which is similar to the great white in appearance, if not in its dining habits.
Lifeguards are still being asked to keep an eye out, but more evidence is needed before the beaches are closed. Read more at the Santa Cruz Sentinel.