H-PISMO BEACH

Aug 4, 2011 9:58 PM by Danielle Lerner

Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce says shark attack tweet "didn't come from its office"

Pismo Beach seems to be having its own "Shark Week." The most recent report of a six-foot shark just south of the pier came in Thursday morning.

The first sighting happened Saturday. Then on Tuesday, a surfer spotted a 10 to 15-foot shark in about eight feet of water, 90 feet offshore. Another surfer reported seeing an 18-inch dorsal fin Wednesday.

There has been some confusion surrounding the sightings and the release of inaccurate information. Some of the confusion started Wednesday after a breaking news tweet from the Pismo Beach Chamber of commerce said a shark attack had shut down the beach for five days. That tweet was updated a short time later, but KSBY News wanted to know how that sort of information got out in the first place, and just whose job is it to inform the media and the public?

There were still plenty of people in and out of the water at Pismo Beach Thursday, despite a fourth shark sighting in just six days.

"We're now flying the red flag to warn everybody there is a danger," said Tina Rose, an information officer for CAL FIRE.

"I haven't seen any around, but people out in the water they've been talking about it," said Antonio Foy, who surfs at Pismo Beach.

"Yeah, it's kind of scary," said Christy Martinez, who is visiting from Visalia.

For some, things got even scarier Wednesday when a breaking news tweet from the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce reported a shark attack had shut down the beach.

"It certainly didn't come from this office because I didn't approve it," said Peter Candela, CEO of the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Candela said he was not even aware the tweet was sent, until KSBY News Reporter Danielle Lerner pulled it up on a cell phone and showed it to him. He said he did get an anonymous phone call about an attack Wednesday, but insists he got the right information from CAL FIRE, which handles shark sightings, before sending anything out.

"As far as tweets go I don't do the tweets myself ," said Candela. "There's always an account, if you have the password and that information to get into it anybody can really utilize it."

Meantime, CAL FIRE says it followed protocol by posting warning signs after each sighting, but adds it is not required to issue a media release each time someone sees a shark.

CAL FIRE says it finally sent a media release Wednesday after seeing that tweet to clarify there was no shark attack. Candela says he is looking into who sent that tweet from the Chamber's Twitter account.

New warning signs were posted at the beach entrances Thursday, those signs and the red flags will stay up for the next three days.

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