We use data aggregation and modeling to analyze & forecast shark population data in order to facilitate their conservation for a healthy ocean and global climate.
We create and empower citizen scientists to become valued field researchers and conservation advocates.
Did you know that shark populations affect climate change? Sharks are apex predators that keep the entire marine ecosystem balanced. Whether you live on the coast or far inland, shark populations affect your life. We are committed to providing shark population data and forecasts to fisheries, scientists, municipalities, and other officials in order to inform climate change and conservation policy. Without sharks in the ocean herbivores flourish, plant life and photosynthesis from the ocean is decimated. This means that ~70% of our planet’s oxygen supply is gone. Additionally, sharks store carbon in their bodies and the larger the animal, the more carbon is sequestered. We’ve lost nearly 90% of all sharks and large predatory fish in the ocean. These events mean that ocean can no longer absorb as much carbon from the atmosphere as in previous decades and climate change is accelerated. Life is now less comfortable for you and your family. Very hot summers, very cold winters, and extreme weather events like superstorms become the norm as do higher home heating and cooling bills!
We started with our backyard, the California coast to validate our models and now collect global data. We’ve created partnerships with researchers, non-profits, policymakers, and global data providers in order to create a robust picture of the past, present, and future populations. What if there is a correlation between less sharks in one country and weather in another? Nobody has looked at this on a global scale to this point.
Shark attacks are not at all common, in spite of media sensationalism. You’re more likely to be killed by a vending machine, coconut, or a cow than you are by a shark. Eleven thousand sharks are killed every hour. Yes, you read that right. The “shark attack” is a media product designed for ratings and viewership. Sharks do not actively hunt and attack humans. Bites are a case of mistaken identity.
Sharks have a bad rap and it’s time to replace fear with facts, before it’s too late for our planet and our survival.
In the summer of 2013 the surfers around El Porto and the Manhattan Beach Pier noticed juvenile great white sharks swimming among them in the lineup. This is not surprising, considering that the Santa Monica Bay commonly has young-of-the-year (YOY) white sharks in the spring and summer months. However, the local news caught on to reports of sightings and proceeded to report “shark-infested” waters in South Los Angeles County. Of course, that’s their job – to make stories people want to watch and fear sells. By the way, sharks can’t possibly “infest” the ocean, it is where they live. If anything, humans infest certain parts of the ocean.
Our founder knew that something must change. El Porto Shark was started as an awareness campaign to replace fear with facts and advocate for shark conservation. With a social media presence, stickers, and t-shirts we set out to provide information that people could rely on as to why it was not only good to see sharks, but why our oceans and global environment depend on them. Later, contributing to blogs, speaking engagements, and press interviews helped us expand our message further.
Two years later in the summer of 2015, we were inspired to do more. We have the education and experience to make a real difference for shark populations and ocean health. We found our first data set, put together a plan, and launched into our current mission. We’ve been featured in the press and have global partnerships in place for a very ambitious, but reachable goal of providing data and population forecasts to inform fisheries managers, commercial fisheries, tourism operators, policymakers, governments, scientists, and other interested parties. These forecasts are used for catch limits, environmental monitoring, policy change, and scientific research.
Some of Our Data
We are able to determine when people are most likely to see sharks and it should be no surprise that Southern California surfers are most likely to have close encounters with sharks in the ocean (SOURCE) than others. They’re in the water more often and longer than the general public. Nearly all realize this is a part of surfing since the ocean just so happens to be where sharks live. They know that there isn’t a reason to panic.
Considering that tens of thousands of people come in close contact with sharks each year while swimming, surfing, or boating, the number of shark attacks is negligible. In 2014, there were 72 confirmed “unprovoked” shark attacks—down from 75 in 2013—in the world, resulting in 3 deaths (compared to 10 deaths in 2013).
The actual number of attacks is hard to determine because of poor reporting in many areas. News about shark attacks is often suppressed so tourists will not be driven away in certain parts of the world.
The most common type of attack is the so-called “hit and run” assault. The shark bites and then quickly releases the person and disappears. These attacks usually involve injuries to the leg below the knee and are not usually fatal. Humans are usually considered too bony to be a good meal for a shark.
Hit-and-run attacks are probably most often cases of mistaken identity. They usually happen near the surface and in poor visibility. Breaking surf, heavy currents, and other factors may make it hard for the shark to see its victim clearly (SOURCE).
*dataset from selected California beaches during 2003-2015
We monitor population dynamics and consult fisheries, agencies, scientists, and more. Our research informs officials around the world and can include other animal populations and environmental factors. What we do is tailored to a client’s needs and we provide detailed research with high-quality insights to inform strategy.