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Group of sharks off coast prompts another advisory in Long Beach

A great white shark photographed near a 22-mile-long volcanic land mass 150 miles west of Baja California.
A great white shark photographed near a 22-mile-long volcanic land mass 150 miles west of Baja California.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Officials in Long Beach issued another advisory Wednesday warning beachgoers that a shark had been spotted in the shallow waters off the coast — this time, a few of them.

Lifeguards were working with researchers Wednesday morning and actually tagged one of the sharks, said Capt. Cameron Abel, who works in the Long Beach Fire Department’s Marine Safety Unit. By the afternoon, he said, they had seen at least four.

The sharks were about 5 to 6 feet long, Abel said, and thought to be juvenile great whites. They’ve been spotted regularly near the Peninsula oceanfront — shallow water that Abel said is filled with the sting rays and small fish the sharks like to eat.

Abel said that when lifeguards see sharks or confirm a reported sighting, they’ll issue an advisory alerting those on the beach. They’ll lift the advisory if they go a day without seeing a shark.

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A similar advisory was issued last weekend.

“They’ve shown no aggressive behavior,” Abel said. “It’s basically just an advisory: Swim at your own risk.”

Abel said the increase in shark sightings was similar to an influx seen at this time last year, right around the start of the summer. In a statement issued last week, marine safety officials attributed the activity to a “thriving aquatic ecosystem” in the area. They estimated that 10 to 20 juvenile sharks swam there daily.

“This exact same scenario occurred last year,” Abel said. “They were around most of the summer. We’d spot them periodically … and toward the end of the summer, they disappeared.”

kate.mather@latimes.com

@katemather

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