NEWPORT BEACH — Newport Beach lifeguards have partnered with California State University, Long Beach’s Shark Lab to monitor marine animal activity off the coastline. On July 29, a website was launched to provide educational information for beach visitors.
There has recently been an increase of shark sightings in the ocean waters off Newport Beach, including the Corona del Mar area. Since the shark bite incident in May, Newport Beach lifeguards and city staff has been educating themselves on sharks to make informed decisions.
Working in partnership with CSULB Shark Lab, lifeguards have coordinated efforts to monitor marine animal activity in the area. In early July, three acoustic receivers were deployed at the Newport Pier, the Balboa Pier, and in the swim lines off the shore of Corona del Mar. These receivers record data from previously tagged marine animals when they come within 500 yards of the receiver, depending on the animal’s transponder.
Lifeguards have been removing the receivers once per week for the past three weeks to collect data. No data was recorded until the evening of July 19, which revealed the same tag number three times within a 10-minute period. The CSULB Shark Lab confirmed it to be a 15-foot female white shark, which was tagged last year off Tomales Bay in Northern California. The transponder on the shark transmits a signal up to one kilometer, making it difficult to determine how close to shore the shark came.
The website provides a log of the recorded data and any confirmed shark sightings in Newport Beach, which currently reflects four shark related activities in July. Additionally, the website has information about how lifeguard personnel in Newport Beach and across the region follow a policy when responding to shark sightings or aggressive behavior; resources for learning more about sharks and shark behavior; and some general safety tips for beach visitors.
Find out more at gov/sharkeducation.