A California shark lab tagged a record number of sharks off the southern coast this year

A shark lab in California tagged more sharks off the southern coast this year than ever before, raising questions researchers are unable to answer.Des...

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 4:03 AM

A shark lab in California tagged more sharks off the southern coast this year than ever before, raising questions researchers are unable to answer.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic limiting team members and lab time, California State University's Long Beach Shark Lab director Chris Lowe told CNN his team still tagged 38 sharks in 2020, triple the number they tagged the year before.

"This has been the biggest summer that we've had in the 10 years we've been doing this," Lowe said. "There's still a lot of sharks around that aren't even tagged yet so we're probably going to tag even more before the year's over."

"It seems like 2020 will be a year-round shark season and we don't know why. There's a lot of questions we don't have answers to right now," he added.

Along with a hike in numbers, the sharks are also being tagged in areas where they never visited in the past, such as regions off the coast of San Diego. The sharks are also lingering around the beaches for longer than usual, another odd behavior researchers are struggling to understand.

"What's interesting is that the sharks are sticking around this time. Usually they find a beach and stay there for a couple of weeks before dispersing and going to another hot spot," Lowe said.

"What's unusual is that this year we have aggregations still going since March, so while new sharks have come into the aggregation and some left, by large we still have animals we tagged in March that are sticking around and we haven't seen that before."

While researchers don't know why the sharks are hanging around, Lowe said they suspect it could be related to food sources or a result of climate changes.

Water temperatures in Southern California generally start to drop in October, signaling sharks to start migrating south. This year, however, surface water temperatures remain warm, anywhere between 65 degrees Fahrenheit to the low 70 degrees mark, and sharks aren't leaving as they usually do, according to Lowe.

While some of the sharks are hanging around the shorelines of crowded beaches, the predators have not been interacting much with people in the water despite being in close proximity to them.

"It looks like a very unusual year," Lowe said. "Something's changing and we just don't know why. With all these sharks off public beaches, it raises a lot of public concern. The first thing is, do we have scientific data to show what these sharks are doing and does it pose a risk to the public? As soon as we get that information we'll get that out to the public."

Lowe gives this warning: Be careful surfing or swimming in the water, especially near seals.

After all, you wouldn't want to get between a shark and a seal.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 176157

Reported Deaths: 2461
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35145568
Washington23569229
Marion20282299
Clackamas15499204
Lane11722144
Jackson9984127
Umatilla798483
Deschutes721472
Linn418763
Yamhill412575
Klamath353759
Polk346452
Malheur343058
Josephine307862
Douglas305765
Benton275418
Jefferson207432
Coos198431
Columbia155426
Union141824
Lincoln130520
Wasco130228
Hood River113029
Morrow108115
Clatsop9008
Crook89119
Baker86114
Curry5999
Tillamook5833
Grant4204
Lake4147
Harney3136
Wallowa1575
Gilliam571
Sherman571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3723446

Reported Deaths: 61122
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122964123668
Riverside2976204547
San Bernardino2949734561
San Diego2753683674
Orange2691764900
Santa Clara1173172017
Kern1080131331
Sacramento1016651647
Fresno1007021646
Alameda855831477
Ventura803321002
San Joaquin717351334
Contra Costa67157782
Stanislaus605831032
Tulare49443831
Monterey43301364
San Mateo41226560
San Francisco36094529
Santa Barbara33926446
Solano32047239
Merced31289453
Sonoma29720311
Imperial27995719
Kings22781245
Placer21908283
San Luis Obispo20991257
Madera16289240
Santa Cruz15666204
Marin13868226
Yolo13572200
Shasta11747219
Butte11601196
El Dorado9797109
Napa971579
Sutter9299109
Yuba612744
San Benito598963
Lassen567924
Tehama544556
Nevada448975
Tuolumne408664
Mendocino399347
Humboldt363138
Amador362946
Lake341643
Glenn235825
Colusa220416
Calaveras206252
Siskiyou196521
Inyo141838
Del Norte12907
Mono12744
Plumas6936
Modoc4904
Mariposa4287
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned440
Medford
Partly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 44°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 54°
Medford
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 44°
Medford
Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Klamath Falls
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 32°
Clearing tonight, sunny and warmer tomorrow
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events