A shark spotted Tuesday near the Oceanside Pier was not a great white as originally reported by some media outlets, but was a plankton-eating shark that lifeguards on Wednesday deemed harmless to humans.
“It poses no threat to ocean users,” said Oceanside lifeguard Sgt. Greg Trebbe.
People along the Oceanside Pier spotted the shark midday Tuesday about 500 yards from the pier, Trebbe said.
Some beachgoers initially told some media outlets that it appeared to be 12 feet long and seemed like a great white shark.
Trebbe said that lifeguards passed along photos of the shark to several experts and they believed it to be a basking shark, one of three plankton-eating sharks that are tolerant of divers and boats.
“It was not a great white,” he said.
One of the people there, Kip Hajjar, mantains the shark appeared between 10 and 12 feet long. He said his marine biologist friend insisted it was a great white upon seeing photos.
A native San Diegan, Hajjar said: "That was the first time I had seen a shark like that."
He said a number of the people at the pier were also afraid, believing the shark was a great white.
"It was created a total buzz," he said.
Still, lifeguards on Wednesday said they were continuously monitoring the area for any more shark sightings and had notified adjacent beaches.
Oceanside lifeguards also issued a statement about the sighting, saying they “would like to reiterate that sightings are rare along our coastline. Additionally, when seen, these animals are typically just passing through our waters.”