Mysterious sharks surround man at La Jolla Shores

SAN DIEGO – A local diver captured his recent encounter with several seven-gill sharks, a species Marine researchers are trying to figure out.

Trystan Smodgrass dove 40-feet deep into the ocean near La Jolla Cove and took video and pictures of sharks swimming as close as 3 feet away from him.

Seven-gill shark swims near La Jolla Shores (Credit Trystan Smodgrass)

Seven-gill shark swims near La Jolla Shores (Credit Trystan Smodgrass)

“Just right over by the buoy,” said Smodgrass, “Suddenly, there were six or seven of them surrounding us.”

Marine researchers at UCSD said seven-gill shark sightings are becoming more common, especially this time of year, but they don’t know why.

“We know very little about the movement pattern of this species in southern California,” said Andy Nosal, researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla.

To learn more about the “mysterious” species, researchers have started tagging seven-gill sharks with acoustic transmitters.

“We’re actually going to get to learn a lot more about when they actually arrive and when they leave La Jolla every year,” said Nosal.

There have been virtually no reports of seven-gill shark attacks locally in recent years, but experts are reminding divers they can be dangerous.

“Because of the size, they get to be about 10-feet long, their mouths are very large with very sharp teeth. It’s not a species you want to touch. A lot of divers try to pet these animals, that’s a really bad idea.” Nosal said.