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Extremely rare 'megamouth' shark sighting near San Diego

Fishermen spotted two megamouth sharks 30 miles from the coast. Megamouth sharks have only been seen a few hundred times throughout history.

SAN DIEGO — Fishermen spotted two extremely rare megamouth sharks off the coast of San Diego. The sharks have only been seen a few hundred times throughout history.

"We didn't really process the rarity of the situation until later on," said Val Costescu.

Costescu, David Stabile, and Andrew Chang were about 30 miles off the coast fishing when they captured a video of the sharks swimming under their boat on Sunday. 

Chang recognized the rare species right away. 

"Right when we got close he threw out oh my gosh I think that's a mega mouth," Stabile said.

The group took their footage to Scripps Institution of Oceanography to confirm what they saw.

"I think with each person we were put in contact with, the gravity of everything started to sink in with us that we truly had an out of this world unique experience," Stabile said.

It was a unique experience for several reasons. 

Dovi Kacev, a researcher with Scripps Institution of Oceanography, says megamouth sharks are so rare we don't know how many exist.

"They spend the majority of their time in deep water far from the shore," said Kacev. "There's still a lot of unknowns about them as far as where they spend their time because we see them so unfrequently,"

The sighting comes as a whale shark was spotted near San Diego last week.

Kacev says the warm ocean waters may be impacting the behavior of the marine life. 

When it comes to megamouth sharks, most sightings are around southeast Asia. The sharks get caught in fishing gear which makes this sighting, of them swimming, even more rare. 

Chang says he was told he has the only known footage of two megamouths together.

"The thing about fishing is you never know what you're gonna find. I thought I had seen it all at this point but who would have thought I would see two megamouth sharks," said Chang. 

Researchers are meeting with the group of men who spotted the megasharks Friday to document the sighting in a scientific journal.

WATCH RELATED: Warm ocean waters attracting unique marine life off San Diego coast (September 2022)

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