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Shark Sightings In La Jolla Turn Out To Be Dolphins

A shark warning in and around La Jolla was no longer in effect today after lifeguards determined many reported sightings were of dolphins, not sharks.

Lifeguards issued an alert to beachgoers Monday morning after several shark sightings were reported over the weekend. But with no confirmed sightings on Monday, the alert was called off for today, said lifeguard Lt. Andy Lerum.

The alert was for a roughly two-mile-long stretch of shoreline from La Jolla Cove to Scripps Pier.

Though there were no confirmed shark sightings on Monday, several anxious beachgoers went to lifeguards throughout the day claiming to have seen a shark, Lerum said, noting that what they really saw were dolphins.

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.

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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Avatar for user 'mitchthrower888'

mitchthrower888 | September 2, 2010 at 7:12 p.m. ― 6 years, 6 months ago

Nice try. Sorry I'm not buying it. That was a shark. I live here, and one of the guard's best friends is my associate. The guard who saw the shark said - "that was a shark, no doubt." I know we are trying to protect the tourist business, but the core reports stand. Guard and kayak both saw the same shark, same day. Dolphin this was not. Although a partially eaten dolphin washed up on shore a few days later - likely from a shark.

This shark was 50 yards from shore. At 50 yards, you can tell a shark fin from a dolphin fin - clearly.

La Jolla — On August 15, 2010 Mike Lee, Staff Writer, Union-Tribune, San Diego, posted the following: “Shark sightings prompt warnings at La Jolla. San Diego lifeguards are warning beachgoers to be alert after two reported sightings of a possible Great White Shark on Sunday afternoon, one by a kayaker and the other by a lifeguard, said Maurice Luque, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman. He said lifeguards are advising beach visitors on Monday ‘to use their own judgment as to whether or not they want to go into the water.' The advisory spans the area from La Jolla Cove to the Scripps Pier. It is among the most heavily used coastal zones in the region, drawing swimmers, kayakers, sun bathers and others. The first incident was Sunday morning when a kayaker said he spotted a shark about two miles offshore that was longer than his boat, said Lifeguard Sgt. Rich Stropky. At about 4:30 PM lifeguards in the main tower spotted a fin roughly 50 yards offshore near Tower 30 at the Southern end of Kellogg Park. Stropky said they just saw the fin for a couple of seconds, but it was ‘in character with a shark, not in character with a porpoise.' Lifeguards put an extra patrol boat in the water on Sunday afternoon and plan to continue precautionary measures on Monday. ‘We are not saying stay out of the water. We are saying this is a little unusual,' Stropky said. ‘We know that there are sharks out there in the water. What is unusual about this is that it came so close to the shore in an area where there are swimmers in the water.' Fear of sharks runs deep partly because, April 25, 2008, a swimmer was killed by a Great White Shark during a group workout near Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach.“ Please report any shark sighting, encounter, or attack to the Shark Research Committee.

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