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Lifeguards Warn La Jolla-Area Beachgoers About Shark Sightings

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Aired 8/18/10

Lifeguards were alerting beachgoers in and around La Jolla today about several shark sightings that occurred over the weekend.

— San Diego lifeguards are alerting beachgoers in and around La Jolla Monday about several recent shark sightings.

A great white shark, among the rarest of inhabitants of aquariums because of its refusal to eat in captivity, swims in a special section of the Monterey Bay Aquarium during its record-setting 198 days there before being returned to the Pacific.
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Above: A great white shark, among the rarest of inhabitants of aquariums because of its refusal to eat in captivity, swims in a special section of the Monterey Bay Aquarium during its record-setting 198 days there before being returned to the Pacific.

San Diego Lifeguard Chief Rick Wurts said a kayaker reported seeing a shark Sunday morning while paddling about two miles off the coast of La Jolla Shores.

Wurts said the kayaker reported the shark was about eight-to-10 feet long -- as big or bigger than the kayak.

Later Sunday afternoon, Wurts said several lifeguards at La Jolla Shores saw an 18- to 24-inch dorsal fin approaching the beach before it disappeared into the ocean.

Following the first sighting, lifeguards began notifying surfers and swimmers about the sightings.

Wurts said lifeguards are telling people about the sightings today along a two-mile stretch of shoreline from La Jolla Cove to Scripps Pier.

"We've had a boat that's been out that has contacted people who are swimming or surfing, we'll put our personal watercraft out, we've got a vehicle that's on the beach that will contact people if they're getting in the water," said Wurts.

He said unless more sharks are spotted, the warnings will end late Monday.

City News Service story follows...

Lifeguards were alerting beachgoers in and around La Jolla today about several shark sightings that occurred over the weekend.

On Sunday morning, a kayaker reported seeing a shark while paddling about two miles off the coast of La Jolla Shores, lifeguard Chief Rick Wurts said.

The canoeist said the marine predator was "as big or bigger" than his kayak, suggesting that the animal might have been eight to 10 feet long, Wurts said.

Late that afternoon, several lifeguards supervising La Jolla Shores saw an 18- to 24-inch dorsal fin approaching the beach, according to Wurts. The shark got to within about 50 yards of land, then made a sharp turn and disappeared into the ocean, he said.

Following the first sighting, lifeguards began notifying surfers and swimmers about the sightings.

"We want to give people a chance to make their own informed decisions about what we saw," Wurts said.

Lifeguard personnel will continue informing beachgoers about the possible presence of sharks in the area through the day today, according to Wurts.

The warnings along a roughly two-mile-long stretch of shoreline from La Jolla Cove to Scripps Pier will cease tomorrow, unless more sharks are sighted, he said.

The most recent local fatal shark attack occurred April 25, 2008, when a great white killed 66-year-old retired North County veterinarian David Martin as he swam with fellow members of a triathlon club near Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach.

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