Shark left to die on beach

A shark has been caught on camera thrashing about in shallow water off the coast of California.

It's not clear yet how the great white shark ended up so close to the shore in Santa Cruz.

Video of the incident was uploaded to YouTube by local Mark Schwartz. Another man can be seen getting close to the dying beast, taking photos on his phone.

The shark flops onto its belly and seems to give up the fight as the man snaps away.

"At first, I didn't know what it was. I thought maybe it was a dolphin," Mr Schwartz told the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

"When I got close, it was clearly a shark. It was flailing and there was a photographer at the water. I bet he got some interesting photos."

A crowd of dozens soon surrounded the creature, but it's doubted they could have done anything to save it.

Strong waves prevented it getting back out into the ocean, and it later died, said Pelagic Research Shark Foundation executive director Sean Van Sommeran.

"The shark lost energy after hours spent flailing ashore and in shallow water," he told the Sentinel.

"It was upside down as we tried to get it to deeper water. A healthy shark wouldn't do that."

Emergency services weren't notified until someone called, saying they feared someone in the crowd might get too close to the shark's razor-sharp teeth.

At first it was suspected to be a salmon shark, but a necropsy confirmed it was in fact a great white - a species listed as vulnerable by the World Wildlife Foundation.

Mr Van Sommeran said more than 100 great whites have died off the Californian coast this year already, partly because of finning and fishing nets.

It's estimated only a few thousands great whites remain in the wild. They're a protected species in New Zealand, with penalties up to six months' jail or a $250,000 fine if you harm or kill one.