HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — There are more sharks in the water off the coast of Southern California than ever before, according to marine researchers.

The Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach, tagged 38 sharks, which is more than triple the number tagged tag last year, KCAL-TV reported Friday.

“This was a big year,” lab Director Chris Lowe said. “So, even with COVID, we tagged more sharks this year than we have any other year.”

Lowe tweeted about the findings and shared drone video of great white shark pups and juveniles swimming along beaches from San Diego to Santa Barbara.

The shark clusters were larger and remained in the coastal waters longer than in past years, Lowe said.

“This year there were just more sharks around,” he said. “And the question is why.”

Lowe sent fewer staff members to tag sharks this year because of social distancing and limited lab time and said he was amazed they found so many.

“Normally in our fall when our water temperature gets to the low 60s, that seems to be a cue that drives them to migrate south to Baja,” Lowe said. “And so far, here we are mid-October, and the sharks are still sticking around. Maybe 2020 is going to be a year-round shark season.”

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