Authorities in Huntington Beach closed a stretch of beach Sunday after beachgoers brought likely shark activity to the attention of lifeguards.
At around 3:45 p.m., lifeguards learned of a beached juvenile whale near Tower 22 in Sunset Beach. The whale, which was still alive, was suffering bite marks.
“In speaking with those in the area, beachgoers reported seeing splashing & aggressive shark activity prior to the whale washing ashore,” the City of Huntington Beach said on X, formerly Twitter.
Per city policy, the shoreline and ocean in the area where the shark activity was reported will be closed for a mile in each direction. Officials said this portion of Sunset Beach will be closed for 48 hours.
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, a Dec. 2022 study found that there were some 201 “confirmed shark incidents” in state waters between Jan. 1950 and Dec. 2021. Fifteen of those encounters were fatal. Another 107 caused non-fatal injuries.
CDFW also said that on average there are fewer than three shark incidents a year.
Officials in Huntington Beach said surrounding jurisdictions and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center have been notified of the incident.