Story at a glance
- Record numbers of white sharks have been spotted along the West Coast.
- According to the World Wildlife Fund, white sharks are a vulnerable population due to years of hunting and human accidents.
- For now, they don’t seem to be much of a threat to humans.
A record 38 sharks have been tagged off the coast of southern California, according to the California State University at Long Beach shark lab, three times as many as last year.
“Normally they’d be leaving by now, but instead we are seeing more sharks than ever," Chris Lowe, director of the shark lab at California State University, told the Guardian. A record 38 sharks have been tagged off the coast of southern California, according to the California State University at Long Beach shark lab, which is three times as many as last year.
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White sharks are considered a vulnerable species, according to the World Wildlife Fund, thanks to years of human hunting and accidents, such as getting entangled in nets. The world's largest known predatory fish often concentrate in warm waters near coasts, where there is an abundance of fish and marine mammals for them to prey on, making them susceptible to human interaction. And despite what your favorite shark movie might lead you to believe, they might be less of a threat than we are to them.
“There are so many people in the water: you have paddle boards, kayaks, wetsuits, but the number of attacks hasn’t really changed. That tells you that people are not on the menu, they’re not out here hunting people,” Lowe told the Guardian.
“They’re an amazing animal to see in person,” Lowe told the Guardian. “I think it’s one of those rare wildlife experiences, you can spend your whole life out there on the water and never see one.”
Don’t try this at home, however. Lowe and his team have a plethora of technology and equipment at their disposal specifically to track and monitor sharks, including smart tag devices, passive acoustic telemetry shark tracking technology and SPOT satellite transmitters, which they no longer use on young sharks with growing fins because of observed damage.
Animation of how our Smart tag works... it’s like a trackable Fitbit with a camera. The ultimate in juv white shark spy technology. #sharkspies #trackingnotslacking #biologging pic.twitter.com/NXC6fHHEqA— Chris Lowe (@CSULBsharklab) September 25, 2020
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