Great Whites Make Presence Felt in Hawaiian Waters - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Great Whites Make Presence Felt in Hawaiian Waters

Shark diver Jimmy Hall swims with a massive great white shark off Haleiwa in late-December of 2005. Shark diver Jimmy Hall swims with a massive great white shark off Haleiwa in late-December of 2005.

(KHNL)  Ever since the movie, "JAWS" hit theatres in the Seventies, millions have feared the great white shark. As a result, many believe the only good shark is a dead shark. "Not so" says local researcher John Naughton. He has had close encounters with two great whites in Hawaiian waters.

Naughton says it's exciting to see these just magnificent animals, "They are just spectacular. They literally are the T-rex of the ocean. Just awesome predators. They are clearly the apex predator of the ocean."

John Naughton keeps track of local great white sightings. He says since 2001 he was going through records and, "we have had nine what he considers good, reliable sightings including three documented with photographs."

They include a photo from divers with B&B Surf at Molokini Crater in 2005. Then a shot last week from Kona taken by TMB Photography.

But scientists around the world are talking about Jimmy Hall's encounter with a female great white off Haleiwa.

Naughton tells us, "I was just awestruck what a huge animal it was particularly the girth of the animal. It looks like it is 15-18 feet around, just mammoth. Possibility she could be pregnant".

Scientists identify sharks through scars. Naughton points out scars on the Haleiwa shark most likely made by a male.

They track sharks here via satellite. Naughton has followed one large male come from Farralon Isles off San Francisco. This shark has visited our waters two years in a row.

Naughton says great whites were once fished to nearly extinction and he's hoping the recent sightings will make people appreciate, not fear the magnificient creatures.