Environment

Shark tracking equipment floating in Central Coast waters

Tagging has been taking place nearby

Marine experts in Santa Barbara County waters have been tagging sharks with sensors to help with tracking.  (Photo: Shark Lab Cal State Long Beach)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - New technology is floating in our local waters to help us find out more about sharks and when they might be swimming near us offshore.

Special tagging has been underway by the Shark Lab out of Cal State Long Beach, and other marine groups.

Researchers and marine biologists have been successful at tagging in waters between Carpinteria and Summerland, and also off Oxnard.

Once a shark is tagged, if it goes through the area where a special buoy has been deployed, a signal is sent to lifeguard supervisors in the area.

One of the sensors is off of East Beach in Santa Barbara. Eventually there will be many along the Central Coast and near beaches to the south.

Professor Chris Lowe with the Shark Lab at Cal State Long Beach says, "Lifeguards can get detections of the tag sharks on their automated system." 

Santa Barbara Aquatics Supervisor Tony Sholl says "We will be on the look out for it. Lots of time the Shark Lab - Chris Lowe will email us and let us know what the size of the shark it is and we'll just go from there."

After that, the lifeguards can make a decision based on the protocol whether that poses a risk to people and whether they want to post signs or pull people out of the water. 

Santa Barbara waters have a lot going on in the area of the buoy. 

"There's not a lot of swimmers there, but there's kayakers, standup paddlers and kite surfers," said Sholl.

He says the behavior or a shark is also a key to the decisions lifeguards will make.

There are many other ways shark sightings are reported including a visual sighting or one that is captured with a camera while someone is in the water or using a drone.

If signs are posted..."Everyone in the state uses the same protocol. All the signs are the same," said Lowe. 

Other geo-tracking is taking place along the California coast and recently a Great White Shark was seen here, in Hawaii, over to Morro Bay and it is now back in the Santa Barbara Channel.

For more information, clck here.


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