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July 07, 2010

Great White Shark Warning Issued in Channel Islands

Last week, the National Park Service issued a great white shark warning around Santa Barbara Island in the Channel Islands -- a chain of eight islands located off the coast of Southern California that are popular among divers.

The warning said there have recently been three attacks on California sea lions by great white sharks -- one at the Santa Barbara Island Landing Cove and two offshore of Cat Canyon on the southeast side of the island.

When I teach PADI Open Water classes, students often ask me if there are great white sharks in Monterey Bay. While everyone knows the answer is “yes,” a lot of questions remain, like:

- Roughly how many great white sharks are in the bay?

- What percentage are male versus female or adults versus adolescents?

- Where are they located?

- Are great white shark numbers in the bay increasing or decreasing?

I’ve always wanted to provide students with a better response than “Yes, great white sharks are in the bay.” Prompted by this warning, I’ve contacted several great white shark experts, including representatives of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Great White Shark Project, to answer questions like the ones above and develop a post that sheds more light on great white shark behavior in the bay.

Stay tuned!

Posted by jroualdes at July 7, 2010 05:14 AM