Recent shark sightings off the Southern California coastline have some residents worried as they kick off the summer beach season on Memorial Day weekend.
From Santa Barbara down to San Diego and through to Baja Mexico, more than a dozen great white sharks have been spotted, some even 50 feet from the shore in Huntington Beach.
Mike Price, the assistant curator of fishes at SeaWorld San Diego, said those sharks are not looking for people.
“Throughout the summer...you might have an opportunity to see a juvenile white shark...it's exactly where they're supposed to be, it's where they want to be, it's where all their food sources are,” Price said.
The sharks are chasing sting rays and small fish, Price said, and the ones closer to the coast tend to be younger.
“I would always recommend avoiding large sharks from a safety point of view...they're big...they're strong and even though they may not see you as a meal...if they feel threatened...they might defend themselves,” Price said.
The sharks spotted so far have been juvenile sharks about five to seven feet long, feeding on fish and stingrays, experts say.
Beachgoers expressed concern about the recent sightings.
“If there’s baby great white sharks…there’s mommy great white sharks somewhere closeby,” said Holly Holguin.
She said the thought of sharks spotted off the coast disturbed her.
“It’s a little disconcerting,” she said.
Beachgoer Heather Williams said the sightings make her want to stay away from the water.
Though the recent uptick in shark sightings may be alarming to some, Price says there is one upside.
“Shark populations around the world are in trouble so this could be potentially a bright spot if we are in fact seeing more and more juvenile white sharks along the coast,” he said.