7 Great White Sharks Tagged Off Huntington Beach, Warnings Issued

Researchers were able to tag seven great white sharks off Huntington Beach on Friday, days after an astonishing number of the animals were observed swimming just 50 feet from the Orange County shoreline.

Setting out early Friday morning, the research team was escorted by Huntington Beach safety officials. They related that the tagging mission was successful, yet difficult, as the white sharks were "skittish" and avoided contact with them. The team spotted nearly 15 juvenile great whites, according to the L.A. Times, ranging in size from five- to seven-feet-long. Utilizing spears, they were able to attach transmitter tags to the sharks, which will allow them to collect information about the animals' movements and hopefully reveal why the great whites have been swimming so close to shore.

Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lt. Claude Panis, who joined the researchers, observed that the experience of interacting with the great whites allowed him to see the sharks as something other than man-eaters.

"For me, it kind of settled my fears down. The sharks really don't want to interact with people."

Warning signs have been posted along Huntington Beach, as KTLA 5 reports, and an advisory has been issued for the region by the Huntington Beach Police Department. Officials have warned people not to provoke or interact with the sharks, though they see no need to keep beachgoers out of the water. Due to the great whites' relatively small size, the animals pose little danger to beachgoers and are more interested in feeding upon fish and stingrays than investigating swimmers.According to Chris Lowe, director of the Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab, the sightings are only unusual due to their proximity to shore. He asserted that the area from Santa Barbara to San Diego represents something of a nursery for baby sharks, much like the waters off New Zealand, as the Inquisitr previously reported.

"There have been hundreds of these little sharks out there for years, and thousands of people going in the water every day," he said. "These little sharks swim right by them and nobody seems to be bothered."

Authorities urged swimmers and surfers in Huntington Beach to report any further sightings of the great whites, while pointing out that the sharks have not acted aggressively toward any humans in the area.

[Photo by Ryan Pierse/ Getty Images]