On Calif. Coast, Great Whites Lurk Closer Than You Think

Turns out they winter off beaches, in 'Frisco Bay
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2009 11:48 AM CST
A great white shark off Mexico.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – The great white shark population in the eastern Pacific Ocean has a more regimented migratory schedule than previously thought—and one which brings the predators much closer to shore than was previously believed. Researchers in California tracked 179 great whites over 10 years, using acoustic tags and satellite info. Rather than wandering the sea at random, they spend winter months just off the California coast—and even venture into San Francisco Bay.

“It shows you how wild it is off our West Coast of North America,” one researcher tells the Washington Post. “This is Yellowstone.” The sharks’ movements between California and Hawaii are so standardized the population has become genetically distinct from other groups of great whites. And their proximity to humans "shows us the sharks are really minding their own business. The number of interactions with people is very small, considering,” another researcher says.