Sharks have been swarming around southern California beaches for weeks. NPR wanted to know more about why, so we placed a call to Chris Lowe, a professor in marine biology and head of the Shark Lab at California State University at Long Beach — or rather, we tried. Lowe was offshore on a boat trapping sharks to tag, and at the appointed time for our interview, Lowe had his hands full ... of shark.
Morning Edition producer Justin Richmond, who was on the boat with a microphone, delivered a play-by-play as Lowe and two of his students from Cal State Long Beach tugged on a net.
"They're literally catching a shark right now!" Justin said.
It was a great white shark — although not a big one. It was a baby, about six feet. The boat they were on was a 12-foot whaler.
The idea was to tug the shark alongside that little boat, then hoist it up on the deck of a bigger boat — yes, in an all-too-appropriate Jaws reference, there was a bigger boat — and there, the researchers quickly performed surgery, implanting tracking devices on and in the baby shark, so she could be studied later.