A great white shark measuring 5-6 feet was hooked and released Tuesday morning off Manhattan Beach Pier, marking at least the fifth such incident since mid-July.
Eric Martin, director of the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium at the end of the pier, said an abundance of market-sized squid in the area might be attracting juvenile white sharks.
Chris Lowe, who runs the Shark Lab at Cal State Long Beach, said juvenile white sharks typically eat bottom fishes, rays and other small sharks, which could be attracted by the squid.
"It's so weird because I've also seen two swim-bys recently, including one that involved about a 7-foot shark that ended up about 20 feet from a surfer," Martin said. "The surfer had no idea, but the shark just turned when it got close and swam away."
The fisherman who hooked the shark Tuesday was aware that white sharks are protected off California, Martin said, and that landing them is illegal. Martin cut the line moments after snapping the accompanying photo with a small, portable camera.
The unnamed fisherman had been involved in two of the four previous white shark captures, Martin added, and his fishing method, though legal, suggests he was after fairly big game. He was using a mackerel for bait, and a sliding rig that lets the bait slide freely up and down the line.
In July, a different angler was insistent on gaffing and hauling the shark he had hooked onto the pier. Martin was able to convince him to cut the line only after a heated argument and a threat to call the police.
-- Pete Thomas