We use data aggregation and machine learning models to create profitable, environmentally sustainable fisheries as well as to inform climate policy.


Did you know that shark populations affect climate change?  Sharks are an apex predator that help keep the entire marine ecosystem in balance.  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 policy.  Without sharks in the ocean the plant eaters (herbivores) flourish and therefore plant life can be nearly wiped out.  Sharks also store carbon in their bodies and the larger the shark, the more carbon is sequestered.  We’ve lost nearly 90% of all sharks and large predatory fish in the ocean. Because of these events, the ocean can then no longer absorb as much carbon from the atmosphere.  This creates a series of events that accelerates climate change and makes life less comfortable for you and your family.  Very hot summers, very cold winters, and extreme weather events become the norm.

We are starting with our backyard, the California coast to validate our models and will then roll it out nationally and globally.  We’ve created partnerships with researchers, non-profits, and global data providers in order to create a robust picture of the past, present, and future.

Shark attacks are not very 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.

Sharks have a bad rap and it’s time to replace fear with facts.


The Inspiration

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 juvenile white sharks during certain seasons..  However, the local news caught wind of these sightings and started giving sensational reports of shark-infested waters in South Los Angeles County.  Of course, that’s their job – to make stories people want to watch and fear sells.

Our founders knew that they had to do something.  El Porto Shark was started as a side, pet project to replace fear with facts.  With a social media presence, stickers, and t-shirts we set out to find 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.

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.  Our API will be available soon as well.


What are people doing when they see sharks in the water?

It should be no surprise that surfers are most likely to see sharks in the water (SOURCE).  They’re in the water more often and longer than the general public.  Most 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).

*data used is for selected California beaches from 2003-2015

What Are We Working On?

A shark forecast!  Yes, you heard that right…a shark forecast for California beaches, to start.  Ralph Collier has so graciously allowed us to use his data and we’ve collected other data points from social media, news outlets, fishing & whale watching boats and every other source we can find.  We’re starting with the California coast because because we are native Californians that know the coastline and are seasoned surfers, swimmers, and scuba divers that have a genuine love for the ocean.  We’ve identified global partners and data providers and will be adding the United States and then rolling out a global platform.  Our API has data going back decades and our forecasts can predict future populations for science, municipalities, policymakers, and more.  Contact us today for more information.


Where Are The Sharks?

Where are the most sightings? According to our current dataset these are the locations where most sightings occur.  The larger the bubble, the more sightings.  Scroll over to see locations and number of sightings.

We’re only showing California sightings in this graphic.

Fun With The Data:  What’s Your Name?


What’s your name?  Does your first name have anything to do with whether or not you will see a shark?  What do you think?  We gathered the data on those who reported shark sightings and noticed something….

Well, actually, we thought it would be fun to see the names that appear the most on the sighting reports.  Looks like if your name is a version of John you are more likely to see a shark.  Ha!

Okay, not really.  The data is for sightings in California and come from mostly surfers.  John is a  pretty common name so this really has nothing to do with causality.  Heck, if you ever surf El Porto you will notice that nearly every guy there is named John.  Seriously though, if you want to see what names are popular in California or any other state you can check out the Social Security website here.  They’ve got info by state and birth year.

Why did we bother to do this analysis?  Well, first off we are huge nerds and we love to dig in and visualize everything.  Secondly, we just wanted to point out that when you’re analyzing data it’s a good idea to know a little something about the data itself.  We’ve seen people make strange conclusions like the name causality thing that we just illustrated and then make decisions based on the silliness that they found.  Don’t do it!

About Our Data

Most of our data comes from the public.  These individuals entered their experiences on the Shark Research Committee’s website starting in 2003  and this is the data set for the California-specific graphs on this page.  We aren’t saying that if a particular beach isn’t on here it means there are no sharks.  It means that nobody has reported seeing a shark at that location.  We are adding data from other sources all the time and hope to raise awareness of the reporting site so that we can get a better understanding of shark behavior.

Data we use for our API and forecast models comes from the data referenced above as well as fishing boats (commercial and recreational), whale watching boats, social media, news outlets, scientific publications, and first-person accounts from our network of shark spotters, and more.

Want to help this project move faster?  Donate a few bucks.  We’re happy to send you a few El Porto Shark stickers if you want.