Great White Sharks Spotted Swimming Near Beachgoers Off California Coast

Sheriff's Deputy Brian Stockbridge looks out of the window of the Orange County Sheriff's helicopter as it glides down the coastline, above murky blue water at Capistrano Beach in Dana Point.

Juvenile great-white sharks feasting on sting rays near the Long Beach shore drew news cameras and crowds Wednesday, spurred by a recent series of sightings. That's because the sharks eat stingrays, which are known to cause painful injuries to people playing in the surf in the area.

Paddle-boarders off the coast of California had a shock, after a shark alert was issued to them by police helicopter.

A great white shark.

The activity was reported by a surfer who had a "very close encounter with a shark", a Camp Pendleton spokeswoman told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Long Beach Fire Department's Marine Safety Unit said lifeguards were working with researchers Wednesday morning and actually tagged one of the sharks, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Authorities posted advisories up and down the beaches of Southern California following several shark sightings this week.

Because juvenile sharks don't hunt larger marine mammals, they're much less likely to mistake a swimmer for their typical prey.

Other footage shows shark fins breaking the water, with deeper animals harder to see.

"Oceanographers are saying we might fall into another El Niño summer and that would be unusual, but this could all be related to climate change", he said. That was not the case two weeks ago farther south at San Onofre State Beach. Closures occur when a shark attacks, which can range from anything from a bite or a bump of a surfboard.

That increased number may just mean there are more sharks, Lowe said. "They've been protected in USA waters since 2005", Lowe explained.

"We should also not see the sharks' presence as a threat or inconvenience", he added.