SAN DIEGO — Young great white sharks have been spotted off the coast of Coronado to Del Mar in recent weeks, and researchers are scrambling the boats to tag the five- to eight-foot juveniles.
“Those are the sizes of sharks that typically feed on things like bat rays, stingrays, other small fish,” said Dr. Lyall Bellquist from Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
Researchers say after a 1994 conservation act banned the killing of great white sharks, the species’ population is blooming again.
“A conservation success story,” Bellquist said. “White sharks have been protected for a long time. Marine mammals have been protected for a long time. We are likely seeing signs that populations of white sharks are growing.”
Bellquist says there has been a distinct difference in great white activity over the past two decades.
“Early on in my career, you could not go out and reliably find juvenile white sharks to tag and then learn the movement patterns and the behaviors from,” Bellquist said.
Now, finding a new shark just takes launching a drone at the right spot and going for a boat ride.
Researches say the sharks will hang around the region for feeding from July through September, then move on to alternative areas.