The Shark Lab at Cal State University Long Beach told the Los Angeles Times this month that researchers tagged 38 white sharks this year, more than three times as many as last year.
In fact, some lucky passengers aboard a Gone Whale Watching boat had a very close encounter on Sunday with a large white shark 15 miles off the coast of San Diego.
Dovi Kacev, an assistant teaching professor at UC San Diego and a shark researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told NBC 7 on Tuesday that there may be a number of reasons why there may be more sharks off the Southern California coast in 2020
“For me, it’s really exciting to see these animals increasing in abundance because that’s telling us these ocean ecosystems off our coast are doing well enough to support those predators," Kacev said.
One of the reasons there could be more sharks in the water off the Southern California coast is because of legislation put into place in the mid-'90s to protect the species and reduce overfishing, Kacev said.
“Maybe some of the improvements we’ve been making are, in fact, working, and I think that’s important to see,” Kacev said.
New technology is helping researchers get a much clearer picture of where sharks are swimming, said Kacev.
“It’s impressive to see how the tagging technology as well as other technologies are allowing us to study these animals better than we were able to do so before,” Kacev said.
The shark clusters were larger and remained in the coastal waters longer than in past years, Shark Lab director Chris Lowe old KCAL on Friday.
“This was a big year,” Lowe said. “So, even with COVID, we tagged more sharks this year than we have any other year.”
Lowe sent fewer staff members to tag sharks this year because of social distancing and limited lab time and said he was amazed they found so many.
“Normally in our fall, when our water temperature gets to the low 60s, that seems to be a cue that drives them to migrate south to Baja,” Lowe said. “And so far, here we are mid-October, and the sharks are still sticking around. Maybe 2020 is going to be a year-round shark season.”