Shark warnings greet Huntington Beach holiday surfers, swimmers

People going to Huntington Beach for the Memorial Day weekend are being greeted with signs warning swimmers and surfers to beware of sharks.

Earlier this week, a Huntington Beach Police Department helicopter spotted the 6- to 10-foot sharks feeding in the water about 50 feet from the shore, police said. On Friday, lifeguards and marine researchers tagged seven of the great white sharks with transmitters to track their movements.

In the last week, sharks have been spotted swimming south of Anderson Street toward Sunset Beach, Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lt. Michael Baumgartner said. The young sharks were previously spotted near Surfside Beach, just north of Anderson Street and near where the jetties end to the entrance of Huntington Harbour.

In April, officials posted warnings after two 5- to 7-foot juvenile sharks were seen swimming near paddleboarders at Surfside Beach. Then on May 11, at least six 5- to 6-foot sharks were seen near Seal Beach and Huntington Beach.

Marine officials said the sightings are not unusual, but it appears the sharks are bouncing along the coast.

The sharks are not aggressive and have not attacked humans. The young sharks are mostly feeding on stingrays.

A high abundance of prey and warmer conditions are contributing to increasing growth rates of juvenile sharks, according to a report co-authored by Chris Lowe, a marine biology professor who runs the Shark Lab at Cal State Long Beach.

Young sharks in Southern California have limited space to expand their population, Lowe said.

The Bolsa Chica Full Tidal Basin and the Huntington Beach Wetlands Complex are considered to be restored fish nurseries, where some of the predatory sharks have been spotted.

Efforts to restore fish nurseries could increase the shark population along the coast, the report said.

Authorities urged swimmers and surfers to report any shark sightings.

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