According to a two-year drone study conducted along southern California beaches observing how close juvenile white sharks get to humans, such as waders, swimmers, surfers, and stand-up paddle boarders, were regularly in close contact with the animals without any need for concern.
The researchers from Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab found that at juvenile white shark aggregation sites, people were near sharks on 97% of the days surveyed. The researchers added that during the two-year drone study, there were no reported shark bites in any of the surveyed locations.
“Frankly, we were shocked,” Christopher Lowe, professor of marine biology and director of CSULB Shark Lab, told the Herald.
“Sharks would interact with people every single day, multiple times a day, and they would just swim by.
“It was shocking that these occurrences were happening so often,” Lowe added. “And the fact that no one was being bitten smacks in the face of the misconception that if there’s a white shark nearby, you’ll be attacked. This shows that’s not the case.”
The study, conducted by researchers at California State University, Long Beach found that the sharks often swam within 100 feet of humans, however, the sharks did not show any signs of aggression or interest in the humans.
The researchers say the findings of the study suggest that great white sharks are not as dangerous to humans as is often portrayed. They say the sharks are more interested in hunting seals and other marine animals than in attacking humans.
The study’s findings are good news for beachgoers who are concerned about the presence of great white sharks in Southern California waters. The researchers say that people should not be afraid to enjoy the beach, but they should be aware of their surroundings and take precautions, such as swimming in groups and staying close to shore.