Jay Dohner sees plenty of juvenile Great White Sharks of of Manhattan Beach California.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SEE A SHARK IN THE WATER?
First, assess the risk: If it is a small horn shark or thornback ray, it is safe to swim in the area–but keep your distance from the animal. If a larger shark is spotted, like a white shark, it is best to evacuate the water calmly, trying to keep an eye on the animal. Do not provoke or harass the shark. Report your shark sighting, with as much detail possible, to local lifeguards.
If you are one of the few people attacked by a shark (the odds are in your favor at 11.5 million-to-one), experts advise a proactive response. Hitting a shark on the nose, ideally with an inanimate object, usually results in the shark temporarily curtailing its attack. You should try to get out of the water at this time.
SHOULD THE CITY OR COUNTY BE LOOKING AT OTHER SHARK SAFETY PRECAUTIONS?
Los Angeles County lifeguards have a safety protocol of warning ocean-goers to exit the water when there has been a verifiable shark sighting, and this is a good protocol. Lifeguards may also close the beach temporarily to ocean-goers based on the risk. However, closing beaches for long periods of time due to shark sightings or closing piers to fishing will not likely reduce the risk, nor is it consistent with California’s laws or beach culture. We also recommend creating a program to educate sport and pier anglers about how to avoid catching sensitive species like white sharks and how to act responsibly if one is caught.
HOW CAN I REDUCE MY CHANCES OF ENCOUNTERING A SHARK?
According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, there have only been 13 fatal white shark attacks in California since the 1920s. Your own toilet poses a greater danger to life and limb than any shark. Swimmers and surfers have frequented Manhattan Beach for generations, and it is commonly known that the area is home to a seasonal population of juvenile white sharks. If you’re still concerned, here are some quick tips to avoid run-ins with fins:
If you are a surfer or swimmer, wear a shark repellent device like SharkBanz
Avoid waters with known effluents or sewage.
Avoid areas used by recreational or commercial fishermen.
Avoid areas that show signs of baitfish or fish feeding activity; diving seabirds are a good indicator of fish activity.
Lastly, do not provoke or harass a shark if you see one!