Sharks of the San Francisco Bay

Tope Shark, Galeorhinus galeus, aka: soupfin shark and school shark. A widely distributed shark in temperate and subtropical seas. La Jolla Shores, San Diego, California, Eastern Pacific.

When we hear the word shark, we often think of the large toothy types like white sharks, tiger sharks and bull sharks. These are called the “Big Three”, the sharks most responsible for human – shark encounters, and tend to get the most attention. However, there are over 1500 species in the elasmobranchii, the group encompassing sharks, skates and rays, and most of them are harmless!

Although Great White Sharks do visit the San Francisco Bay, there are a number of sharks that regularly visit or inhabit the Bay. Here you can learn about the fascinating history of sharks in the San Francisco Bay, and the California coastal waters.

Bay Sharks by David McGuire, Shark Stewards

Bay Residents and Visitors

Leopars shark image

Leopard Shark – Triakis semifasciata (R)

Brown Smoothhound Shark – Mustelus henlei (R)
Gray Smoothhound Shark – Mustelus californicus (R)
Soupfin Shark – Galeorhinus zyopterus (R)

Broadnose Sevengill Shark – Notorynchus cepedianus (R)
Bluntnose Sixgill Shark – Hexanchus griseus (V)
Spiny Dogfish – Squalus acanthias (V)
Common Thresher Shark – Alopias vulpinas (V)

Salmon Shark – Lamna ditropis (V)
Great White Shark – Carcharodon carcharias (V)

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Outer Bay/Coastal Sharks

Prickly Shark – Echinorhinus cookei (OB)
Bigeye Thresher Shark – Alopias superciliosus (OB)
Pacific Sleeper Shark – Somniosus pacificus (OB- Continental shelf)
Pacific Angel Shark – Squatina californica (OB)

Basking Shark – Cetorhinus maximus (OB)

Brown Catshark – Apristurus brunneus (OB- Continental shelf)
Swell Shark – Cephaloscyllium ventriosum (OB- shallows)
Filetail Catshark – Parmaturus xaniurus (OB- Continental shelf)

Shortfin Mako Shark – Isurus oxyrinchus

Oceanic Whitetip Shark – Carcharhinus longimanus
Blue Shark – Prionace glauca

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Bay Area Rays

Bat Ray – Myliobatis californica (in Bay)
Thornback Guitarfish/Ray – Platyrhinoides triseriata 
Round Stingray – Urolophus halleri
Shovelnose Guitarfish – Rhinobatos productus

Pacific Electric Ray Torpedo californica


Big Skate – Raja binoculata
Longnose Skate – Raja rhina