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Avalon, California
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July 13, 2012     The Catalina Islander
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July 13, 2012
 

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ll II A 150-POUND REEF SHARK WAS RECENTLY CAUGHT NEAR THE ISLAND, BUT HUMAN-SHARK ENCOUNTERS ARE RARE BY CHARLES M. KELLY It's a fact no one likes to think about: Catalina Island is surround- ed by ocean and in that ocean swim a variety of fish including sharks. It is, after all, their ocean. We're just visiting it when we ven- ture into the water. I The news media recently re- %i ported that a fisherman caught a rare reef shark near Catalina. It wasn't especially large most ac- counts put the so-called dusky shark at 150 pounds. That's actu- manager. He said the sighting was ally small for a dusky shark. Their not documented. Since then, there average weight is 350-395 pounds, have been no other sightings re- according to the International ported. Shark Attack File and they can Sharks attract a lot of atten- grow to 10 feet long. ~ The story of the capture of a 150-pound shark might not have caught anyone's attention, except that of the fisherman who hooked it, but for the fact that sharks have been making the news lately. A great white shark bit an occupied kayak off the California coast on Monday, July 9. Experts who ex- amined the kayak expressed the opinion that the attacker was a great white. A surfer reported seeing a great white off Laguna Beach in April, according to the Shark Research Committee. in May, a shark re- searcher reported seeing a great white breach--leap out of the wa- ter and into the air--off the coast of Sunset Beach. Great whites breach when launching themselves like missiles at prey on the sur- face. In the Sunset Beach incident, the shark missed whatever it was hunting About two or three weeks ago, a shark that was described as a great white was reported in Cata- lina waters, according to Steve Hoefs, Avalon fire chief and city ti0n -Disc0very Channel's 25th Annual-Shark Week will begin on July 17. However, encounters between sharks and humans are rare. So are shark populations really growing or are we humans just paying more attention? According to Professor Chris Lowe, of the CSU Long Beach Shark Lab, the answer is yes-- probably both. "I think the American public associates summer with sharks," Lowe said. According to Lowe, every sum- mer for the past 10 years there have been media reports of shark activi- ties in the summer. He said that in this YouTube age, people with cell phones who see sharks can record a video and the next thing you know, it's on the Internet. Lowe said he thinks people are better able to film' shark sightings than they used to be. However, he also said that there is scientific evidence that some shark populations are increasing. "This is because of better fisheries management," Lowe said. . - , He said the question is: should people worry about this? Answer- ing his own question, Lowe said not really. He said you are far more likel to die in a car crash while drivin to the beach than die because of:a shark attack. "When you go into ocean, be smart," he said. The ocean is a wild place and there is no govern- ment agency to protect you. Lowe said if you see a shark, consider yourself lucky because you are seeing an animal most people will never see. "Eighty-five percent of the peo- ple who are attacked never see the shark coming," Lowe said. Lowe said it is difficult to see sharks near Catalina waters be- cause the water is so deep. Unless the bottom is sandy, you can't re- ally see them even from the air. He said most shark attacks in- volve surfers who don't have their heads under the water and there- fore don't see the sharks. "If you're in the water, you have to be aware of your surroundings," Lowe said. He also said encounters between sharks and humans are rare in areas frequented by people. There's never been a fatal shark attack document- ed in Catalina waters. The last Catalina shark incident (Left) The paddleboard of a young stand-up paddler that was attacked earlier this year by a shark off of White's Landing. (Above) The eerie outline of a large shark seen outside the harbor a few weeks ago. was on May 6 when a shark bit a paddleboard while a 15-year-old girl was on the board. The girl didn't suffer any harm. The shark in that incident was tentatively identified as a great white. How- ever, that was not confirmed. Before that, the last document- ed shark attack off Catalina was perpetrated by a great white in 2008 when a woman was kayak- ing. According tO the victim's own account on multiple Discovery Channel documentaries, the great white attacked her kayak from be- low, striking the boat so hard she flew up into the air--and landed on the shark's back. According to the Shark Re- search Committee website, there have been two documented shark attacks off the Pacific Coast so far in 2012--the kayak attack and the paddleboard attack mentioned above--and no one was injured in either incident. There were five shark attacks documented off the California coast in 2011, according to the Shark Research Committee web- site. A great white was identified or suspected in five of those seven attacks. There were three other at- tacks along the West Coast, but out of California waters. Great whites were the prime suspects in those other incidents as well. In other words, there were eight attacks on the Pacific Coast in 2011. "The eight cases reported for 2011 brings the total number of unprovoked shark attacks occur- ring along the Pacific Coast during the 21st Century to 64," the web- site said. "This is 'more than five times' the Twentieth Century an- nual average of slightly more than Sharks, Page 8 Museum welcomes intern GETTY FOUNDATION FUNDS INTERNSHIP PROGRAM Each year for the past 20 years the Catalina Island Museum has received a grant from the Getty Foundation to fund an internship in the museum's curatorial depart- ment. This year is no exception. Aiming to increase diversity in and provide support for Los An- geles area museums and visual arts organizations, the Multicul- tural Undergraduate Internship program has funded substantive, full-time summer work opportu- nities for students at Los Angeles area museums and visual arts or- ganizations. Since the program's founding in 1993, 150 local arts institutions, as well as the Getty Center and the Getty Villa, have hosted over 2,700 undergraduates, exposing these students to career possibilities in the arts. This year, the Catalina Island Museum welcomes this year's Getty Foundation intern, Brooke Garcia. Garcia grew up in Long Beach and is a recent graduate of Brown University. She received a bachelor of arts in archaeology with a con- centration in Egyptian and Western Asian archaeology. As part of the Multicultural Undergraduate Intern- ship program, Garcia previously in- terned in the Long Beach Museum of Art's education department. After graduation, Garcia knew she wanted to return to Southern California and was drawn to the Catalina Island Museum intern- Ship for a variety of reasons. She is really interested in the curatorial Side of museums and viewed this opportunity as a way to explore the island's unique subject matter, especially the museum!s extensive archaeological archive. "Since arriving, Garcia has been a crucial part of the curato- rial staff. She helped install the museum's most recent exhibition "Gimme Some Lovin': The Spen- cer Davis Group," helps maintain the galleries each day and is con- ducting research for our next exhi- bition about William Wrigley, Jr.," said Curator John Boraggina. "Walking through the gal- leries, I sometimes see people reading portions of the exhibition that I helped install and it's like our work in curatorial is touch- ing them. That's why I want to go into the museum field. I want to take knowledge I've found and researched and share it with the world," said Garcia. Over the years, interns funded by the Getty Foundation have completed a variety of important projects for the museum includ- ing the documentation of artifacts, research for exhibitions and pub- lications, transcribing oral his- tory interviews, and assisting with education programs. The museum appreciates the efforts of the Getty Foundation to expose interns to a breadth of visual arts-related jobs opportunities, leading many stu- dents into careers atmuseums and visual arts nonprofits. The Catalina Island Museum is Avalon's sole institution devoted to art, culture and history. The mu- seum, its digital theater and store are located on the ground floor of Avalon's historic Casino and are open 7 days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Now open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner from n:3oam until o:oopm. After dinner DJ Thursday through Sunday. THE CATALINA iSLANDER Friday, July 13, 2012 { 7