Sharks Increasing off U.S. West Coast

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 15 (UPI) — Great white sharks are being seen off the U.S. west coast in what California wildlife experts say are increasing numbers.

Great whites attacked kayakers on two separate occasions last month, pushing the number of verified great white shark attacks on humans in California to 102 since 1952, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

“There seems to be more sharks in the water, but we don’t have enough evidence yet to support that,” John McCosker, a shark expert at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, said. “There have certainly been more sightings.”

Most shark attacks in California occur between July and November, McCosker said.

“The reason is there are a lot of seals and sea lions in the area at this time of year,” McCosker said. “The salmon are returning to the Sacramento River, the sea lions are following them and the sharks are following them. Meanwhile, the surfers are doing their best to imitate shark food.”

Sharks have killed 11 people off the California coast, most of them surfers, since the first documented human attack 58 years ago, the Chronicle said.

Great white sharks, known scientifically as Carcharodon carcharias, grow as long as 20 feet and weigh 3 tons.

The biggest ever recorded was caught in 1939 and was 21 feet long and weighed 7,300 pounds, McCosker said.

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