Fox 5 San Diego is reporting that two SCUBA divers had an encounter with what was described as a “5-foot great white shark” off La Jolla Cove, last week. Lifeguards did not consider the presence of the animal to be a threat to swimmers, due to the fact that it was spotted “500 yards” from shore and was a relatively small shark. A 5-foot white shark would almost certainly be a juvenile specimen.
It should be noted that the species of shark shown in the first clip of stock footage in the Fox 5 report is not actually a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). The shark seen in the first clip is sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus), which are not native to California waters.
The reported sighting of a great white shark off of La Jolla is not particularly uncommon, but lifeguard Lt. John Everhart told Fox 5 that often times that sightings of other species such as dolphins or sea lions are misreported as shark sightings, by “people that aren’t used to the area or the ocean.” However, Everhart did not seem to indicate that that he felt that this particular incident was a case of mistaken identity.