Great White Shark confirmed along Washington coast

Editor's note: This story was originally published Feb. 23, 2015. There have been no new sightings at Ocean Shores since then.

OCEAN SHORES, Wash. -- The state Fish and Wildlife Department is alerting people along the coast that a great white shark is operating in nearby waters. A harbor seal washed up at Ocean Shores recently having been partially devoured by a great white.

The tourist town has a pretty good sense of humor when it comes to great whites. There's a tourist shop where you pass through the jaws of one. But now word is surfacing that a great white is operating in those waters. Last Thursday a freshly killed harbor seal was found on the beach. Wildlife folks knew it had been bitten by something really big.

The seal was sent to California for a necropsy and word came back confirming it was a great white.

"I would stay out of the water for awhile," said Craig Bartlett of DFW. "And we're contacting local and tribal governments today to let them know what we've found."

Ocean Shores police say they just got word that it was a great white, but so far there are no plans to do anything at the beach.

"That would be kind of terrifying," said tourist Edith Laurent. "It would be frightening out there to have a shark come in. No thank you."

Thanks to Hollywood and the 1975 film "Jaws" everyone knows what a great white looks like. But business people we talked to don't believe there'll be widespread panic as word gets out. Just the opposite. "I think more people are going to want to come out and think 'oh can we see a great white shark,' " said kite shop owner Andy Siass.

California has seen its share of shark attacks -- a surfer was bitten by a great white two months ago on the central coast. Last summer, a swimmer at a southern California beach was attacked. Both survived. But there have been no reports of any attacks here in the last 26 years.

But it has people keeping an eye out.

"The idea of sharks off our coast a little bit disturbing," said tourist Robert Laurent.

Police say they advise people stay out of the water anyway -- not because of any shark, but because of the dangerous rip tides.

A second seal found over the weekend did not die from a shark attack. The Fish & Wildlife folks say it died from a gaff hook to the head.

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