Long Beach

Cal State Long Beach shark warning alert system in danger of ending 

State funding could end system that been issuing alerts since 2018.

NBC Universal, Inc.

A warning system that alerts Southern Californians when sharks are near beaches is in danger of ending because of expected statewide budget cuts.

“Our state funding ends in August and the state’s budget doesn’t look very good,” said Chris Lowe, director of Cal State Long Beach’s Sharklab

CSULB’s “Sharklab” developed the high tech system that uses buoyes equipped with solar power wireless tech, ocean floor sensors and a fit bit-like devices placed on shark fins to monitor white sharks off California’s coast. 

“One of the technologies we use is acoustic telemetry. We have buoys positioned off beaches that send lifeguards a text alert alerting them if a tagged shark is off their beach they then use that information to decide whether that shark poses a risk to post signs on the beach or pull people out of the water,” said Lowe. 

The Sharklab said the data they collect is vital for not only saving lives, but saving beach communities money. 

“We believe we’ve already saved coastal communities millions of dollars resulting in economic loss because we don’t have to close beaches because there are white sharks there,” Lowe said. 

The lab needs $7m dollars to keep the program running for the next few years. They hope private tech or foundations might step up to help.

Swimmers at Long Beach’s Junipero beach hopes they can find the funding somewhere so he and other swimmers can feel safe wading in the water.

“It’s sad to lose something like that,” said Zaid Ramos. “If there is a system that tells you of the potential dangers in the water, I like to have it.”

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