Donald Trump blames his troubles on those journalist sharks in the “mainstream media,” but now it turns out the media may actually be to blame for an increase in the number of scary, hungry and dangerous real white sharks prowling the waters off Southern California beaches.
“We’ve gotten some reports from citizens who have seen recreational boats out chumming,” said Gonzalo Medina, the Long Beach Marine Safety Division chief. “Some fishing boats too. They’re trying to get video footage of the sharks.
“But as soon as they see a rescue boat approaching, the activity stops. The officers do contact them, but that’s about it,” Medina was quoted as saying in the Press-Telegram newspaper based in Long Beach.
Medina said it appears that film crews as close to the shore as 100 yards are doing the “chumming,” bringing Jaws lookalikes toward the short and near human swimmers, creating significant dangers.
“Chumming” is the practice of tossing bloody chunks of fish or other animal remains into the sea to try to attract blood-sniffing, toothy sharks hunting for dinner. If a human swimmer is in or near the blood-oozing mess, sharks could easily chow down on the unsuspecting victims.
There have been numerous stories in recent months about juvenile great white sharks spotted along popular Southern California beaches. And there has been a reported significant-injury attack.
“Now officials suspect that some media outlets aren’t satisfied with footage of naturally occurring shark sightings,” the newspaper reported. “Long Beach lifeguard officials say they strongly suspect film crews are throwing fish or bait in the water near shore to attract sharks, also known as ‘chumming.’”
Juvenile great whites aren’t cute small shark children — they can be around 6 feet in length.
Medina said marine safety officers can issue tickets for tossing anything overboard into the water that isn’t attached to a hook. But no citations have yet to be handed out.
In trying to cooperate with shark scare concerns, some media crews try to be responsible.
“We had a crew from National Geographic,” Medina said in last week’s story. “We talked with them, and they were very receptive. Ultimately, they used rubber fish attached to a line that they could pull back in.”
There was no word if the voracious sharks fell for the rubber substitutes.
“By and large, everyone understands the need for safety,” Medina said. “We’re told that we may be seeing these sharks up and down the coast for quite some time now.”