Saturday, November 07, 2009

Great White sharks spotted on Oregon Coast

Why are we hearing about great white shark sightings off the Oregon coast?

One was even spotted in three feet of water. And surfers tell KATU News the sharks are coming right up to the surf line. One, believed to be 16 to 18 feet long, swam right between short boarders at South Beach State Park, just outside of Newport.

So what's going on? Why are they here?

One reason for the increase is because the water is warm right now, so the great white is here to feed. And scientists expect their numbers have probably grown since they've been federally protected from being killed since the 1970s.

Then there's the fact that there are more people out in the water off the Oregon coast than ever before.

Shark researchers say great white sharks are more curious than anything when it comes to people in the water. It is believed, however, that they will mistake a surfer sitting on a surfboard for a sea lion and that's when the Great Whites will sometimes go in for a bite.

You often hear how a person was bitten by a shark and then it swam away. Researchers don't know if that's because the shark got a taste of a person and didn't like the flavor or if they're trying to let their prey lose strength before they go back for more.


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