Guide to Surviving Shark Attacks this Summer in San Diego

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You might spot Ashley at La Jolla Shores. You also might spot some sharks. Read more on Ashley’s advice when it comes to these awesome species!

My favorite week, the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week! The 1:1 Movement team takes a closer look at the behavior and sightings of great white sharks along the California coastline in this blog post.  

Summer in San Diego is synonymous with sun and beaches. I am fortunate to be spending another summer in San Diego while interning at The 1:1 Movement. When I am not in the office, I’m spending my weekends at the La Jolla Shores. However, the beloved beaches have sharks. And big ones.

The past few years, great white sharks have consistently been spotted in stretch of ocean between La Jolla Shores and the Cove. What does this mean for beach goers like me this summer?

You probably don’t have anything to worry about. Open water swimmers, surfers, kayakers, scuba divers and paddleboarders share the ocean with great white sharks off La Jolla Shores without a single shark attack in recent history.

If you’re like me, this news may not be that comforting. It seems like a matter of time before someone gets attacked by a great white shark with the consistent visits by sharks and the large number of people that share the water with these magnificent creatures.

And what’s more, the great white shark population is slowly recovering and increasing in number along the California coastline. The 1994 ban on great white shark fishing and the resurgence of seal and sea lion populations have contributed to their recovery . But they are still currently listed as a vulnerable species according to ICUN Red. Research groups and the Monterrey Bay Aquarium have been instrumental in conservation efforts to help the population recover in numbers, despite how terrifying this may sound to beach goers. The Monterrey Bay Aquarium established an open water pen off the coast of Southern California to allow fishermen, who every once in awhile find are surprised to find a thrashing great white shark caught in their mackerel nets, a place to put the sharks. This led to the first successful captive exhibit of a juvenile great white shark in 2004 at the Monterrey Aquarium.

Ultimately, the great white sharks go where they can find food. And La Jolla Cove has seals to spare. While you may believe in the myth that adult great white sharks eat human flesh, they typically stick to eating seal and sea lions, turtles, and other large fish.   La Jolla Cove happens to have a recovering population of seals, which means great white sharks know to go here for their next meal.

If you find yourself swimming at La Jolla Shores and wander past the break into the deep canyon between La Jolla Shores and the Cove, and find yourself the target of a shark swimming up from the dark blue depth (picture Jaws), well then you probably won’t see the living daylight again. Fortunately for all those who enjoy the beach, this is unlikely. It’s so unlikely that one brave woman who wanted to change the image of how Great White Sharks are perceived actually swam with one, holding onto Mama Shark’s dorsal fin.

I’m not going to be grabbing the dorsal fin of a great white shark this summer at La Jolla Shores. And if I’m swimming in the ocean and the lifeguards spot a great white shark, I’m getting out of the water ASAP. If you happen to be in the water when there’s a shark warning off La Jolla Shores, there might be a few things to consider as you swim to safety. National Geographic put together a list of how to behave and what to avoid wearing. Hopefully you’re not the first person the white shark sees. And if you happen to find yourself staring into the eyes of a rogue shark like in the film Jaws, well the National Geographic tips probably won’t matter.

As for now, if you’re enjoying the salty beach at La Jolla Shores, just remember to do the shuffle because you’re much more likely to get stung by a stingray off La Jolla Shores than just about anything else.

And if you’re a Fearless Fred or Brave Betty and sharks don’t make you shiver, you might want to consider swimming with leopard sharks in July and August. La Jolla Shores is known to be a breeding ground for bottom-feeding leopard sharks. They’re smaller and won’t bite. Local paddle boarder Matt O’Malley took a video from his board last summer of the leopard sharks at La Jolla Cove.

Don’t let the threat of Great White Sharks scare you from enjoying the beautiful La Jolla Shores this summer. When you’re at the beach this summer, just try not to get attacked. Easy, right?

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