Signs went up at eight city beaches and several lifeguard towers Tuesday, warning beachgoers and swimmers that a great white shark could be in the area. The warnings come after an injured sea lion washed up this morning on East Beach, a large bite taken out of it by what experts believe was a great white shark.
According Santa Barbara Harbor authorities, at around 11 a.m., folks from S.B.’s Marine Mammal Center called Harbor Patrol with news of the injured mature sea lion washing ashore. The warning signs will remain in place for 72 hours unless there is additional evidence of attack and/or an actual shark sighting.
The news comes on the heels of a July 8 sighting of an estimated 15- to 17-foot shark swimming near the surface some three miles north of Santa Cruz Island in the waters of the Santa Barbara Channel. Additionally, in late April, a nearly 300-pound female sea lion was found in the waters near Stearns Wharf, it too having been on the receiving end of what authorities believed was a great white shark bite.
It should be noted that sea lions and other pinnipeds are standard parts of the typical diet of a great white shark.