The City of Coronado is partnering with CSU Long Beach’s shark lab to learn more about the local shark population. This comes after an increase in the number of shark sightings this past summer.
“There is growing evidence of more juvenile white sharks along the Southern California coast,” said Dr. Christopher Lowe, head of the CSULB Shark Lab. “We have been studying juvenile white sharks using a variety of technology for the last 12 years. We’re trying to figure out why they choose certain beaches, how much time they spend there, what they are eating, and how they interact with people.”
Coronado lifeguards are now working with lab employees to tag sharks and collect data. They also placed a receiver underwater that will collect information every time a tagged shark comes within 500 meters. Once a month, Coronado lifeguards will download the data and send it to the shark lab, where they will develop maps and timelines of shark incidents. The shark lab is also working with the Navy to track sharks near their beaches as well.
Out for some late season tagging ops. Still quite a few juv white sharks hang out off some SoCal beaches. Great assists from local lifeguards. #trackingnotslacking #beachsafety pic.twitter.com/eGC5AzLWlo
— Chris Lowe (@CSULBsharklab) November 19, 2020
“Despite covid, this has been a record year for us,” Lowe said. “We have tagged almost 50 sharks this year, and have seen quite a few more that we haven’t been able to tag. We’re not sure why we’re seeing more sharks this year compared to past years. It isn’t like the shark population is increasing that fast, but more likely attributed to changing oceanographic conditions.”
Coronado lifeguard captain Sean Carey says most of the recent sightings near Coronado have been juvenile sharks of about four to six feet.
“Generally you don’t have to worry about juvenile sharks, but we’ve had two sightings of 12 foot sharks and that’s a little more concerning,” Carey said. “That’s getting into the mature range where you have to start being more careful.”
In addition to tracking sharks, lifeguards are also working to educate the public about sharks. They worked with the shark lab to develop standardized shark incident response guidelines and standardized signs for the various levels of incidents.
For more information about the guidelines you can go to the city’s website.
For more information about the shark lab and their educational initiatives, go to CSU Long Beach’s website.