Great White Sharks Becoming a Tourist Attraction at Popular San Diego Beach

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo credit Stuart Westmorland via Getty Images)

When Jaws hit theaters in the summer of 1975, it introduced many moviegoers to a new fear. The film showed a great white shark lurking in the waters off an island in New York. Decades later, facts about these ancient oceanic predators are slowly changing people’s minds about great whites. Recently, an aggregation of young great whites near a popular California beach is becoming a tourist attraction.

For years, tourists flocked to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and State Beach for majestic views of the ocean. Lucky attendees sometimes caught glimpses of migrating whales in the distance. Recently, though, this beach is home to a group of great white sharks and people are coming from all around to see them. According to USA Today‘s FTWOutdoors, dozens of juvenile great whites are calling the waters around Torrey Pines home.

Great White Sharks Are Getting More Active Near Torrey Pines

The aggregation of great white sharks started feeding in the waters around Torrey Pines in the summer. They’re showing no signs of moving on. Until recently, the sharks fed on bottom fish and stingrays but had little human interaction. However, anglers started to hook the predators earlier this fall. On October 30, beachgoers discovered the carcass of an 8-foot shark on the shore at Torrey Pines. Authorities believed that the shark died due to fishing activity.

Earlier this month, Lyn Jutronich experienced a shark attack while swimming off Del Mar near Torey Pines. The distance swimmer said the shark bit her thigh and shook her before releasing and retreating. Experts believe that a juvenile great white shark is to blame for the attack.

See the Sharks Safely

The Torey Pines State Natural Reserve and State Beach posted a photo of a great white shark in a wave yesterday. According to the post, someone captured that photo with a cellphone from the bluff at Yucca Point.

The post also told people when and where to see the sharks. “Juvenile great white sharks can regularly be viewed from Razor Point, Yucca Point, or Guy Fleming Overlooks at Torrey Pines,” the post read. “For best results, plan your trip before 11 AM and during high tide. Sunglasses with polarized lenses and binoculars both also help.”

An Expert Weighs in on the Aggregation of Great White Sharks

Chris Low, director of the Shark Lab at California State University Long Beach said that several recently-tagged sharks are in the waters surrounding Torrey Pines. “We’ve detected 31 tagged juvenile white sharks out of the 62 tagged at Solana Beach, Del Mar, and Torrey Pines over the last three years,” he told FTW Outdoors. In recent months, Lowe said, “We’ve seen up to 12 sharks in a single drone video frame at Torrey Pines.”

There is no way to know how long these great white sharks will stay near Torrey Pines. However, Lowe says the size of the aggregation is significant. “This is now the largest aggregation since the Santa Barbara aggregation has broken down.”