Sevengill Shark Spotted in La Jolla

By Christy Orgeta
|  Saturday, Jun 26, 2010  |  Updated 10:00 AM PDT
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Images: Rare Whale Sightings

Steve Murvine

MoshPix: Sevengill shark photos

Photos and Videos

Sevengill Shark Video

Barbara J. Lloyd of Stella Luna Productions shot this video in local waters.

Rare Shark Spotted off Coast

Divers have been spotting the sevengill shark more frequently lately.
More Photos and Videos

It’s always a good sign when an apex predator pops back into local waters, a local diver told the La Jolla Light.

An apex predator is an animal at the top of it's food chain. In this case, he means shark.

The diver, Jim Ridgeway, along with dive partner John Huber spotted and snapped footage of a 5- to 6-foot male seven-gill shark on June 19 at La Jolla Cove. 

Ridgway described the encounter with the sevengill as brief.

"This one wasn't interested in hanging around with divers chasing it with a camera," he told the La Jolla Light. "It sort of looked at us for 20 seconds and then took off."

Michael Bear, another San Diego dive enthusiast, monitors sevengill sightings like Ridgway's on the web.

Bear told the La Jolla Light that sightings of the shark are becoming more frequent, but experts are uncertain what that means.

"The number of encounters between divers and sevengills has risen dramatically in the last two years," he said. "But experts aren't sure that's because more divers are going in the water -- or more sharks are in the area."

According to marine biologist and shark expert Jeff Grahm, the sevengill is a common coastal inhabitant appearing close to shore out to depths of 130 meters, and are most abundant in areas between 54 and 65 degrees.

The shark is known to be a potentially dangerous species, with at least one attack on of humans on record, Grahm said. However, most attacks recorded have happened with dogs running along the surf.

“They could give a severe bite,” Grahm said.

While the bites can be severe, Grahm went on to specify that they are not life threatening.

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