Sharks along Southern California coast: Researchers are seeing three times as many as before

This year, the Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab tagged three times as many sharks as last year off the Southern California coast. Image by Christel SAGNIEZ from Pixabay

This year, researchers with the Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab tagged three times as many sharks as last year, even with fewer marine biologists in the field because of COVID safety precautions.

“The most that we typically tagged in a summer are like maybe 12 or 18 sharks. But this year, we’ve tagged 38 so far, and the season isn’t over,” says Chris Lowe, director of the Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab. “So it could be a harbinger of climate change. … We’ve learned that these young white sharks don’t like cold water.” 

Do surfers and swimmers have higher chances of getting bitten now? That’s a concern, says Lowe, who’s been flying drone surveys all along the coast from San Diego to Santa Barbara. “In certain locations, there are a lot of people in the water, and there are a lot of sharks in and among those people. And those people don’t see the sharks. But we can from the air. And what’s interesting is that the sharks don’t seem to care. They seem to just ignore people.”

Credits

Guest:
Chris Lowe - director of Sharklab at Cal State Long Beach

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Kathryn Barnes