Jaws: How Many?

An interview with Dr. Christopher G. Lowe: Professor and Director of the Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab, Dept. of Biological Sciences.


What is the Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab monitoring in Del Mar?

We are monitoring the presence of tagged juvenile white sharks along the coast, including those tagged at Del Mar.  We have a large array of acoustic receivers that can detect those sharks so that we can 1) determine how much time they spend close to shore, 2) where they travel after leaving an area (assuming there are receivers there to detect the tags), 3) determine their activity and diving behavior along a beach.


Are the majority of the great white sharks in our area juveniles?

Yes, we have rarely seen or detected adult white sharks off Del Mar in our 3 years of working there.  An adult white shark is defined as a shark larger than 11-12’ for males, 12-14’ for females.  A majority of sharks we have seen and tagged are 7-8’ long and clearly juveniles.


Is there a count on their number? 

We have tagged 66 juvenile white sharks off Del Mar and Torrey Pines over the last 3 years.


Following up on the November 2022 rare incident of a great white shark biting the swimmer Lyn Jutronich, who spoke of the attack from her hospital bed: Is there any information as to her recovery?

You would need to speak directly to her for that information. All shark bites are rare, compared to say number of drownings, stingray injuries, or wave-related injuries at our local beaches, despite a growing shark population.  Despite their rarity, we do see slight increases in shark bites on humans during the fall months, which has been attributed to the time period when adult white sharks are closest to the CA coastline.  But again, still surprisingly rare compared to other beach related incidents.