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Environment

Series Of Shark Sightings Prompt Warnings At South Coast Beaches

Several local beaches have shark warning signs up this week after multiple sightings.

Despite the warning signs, many people are still going into the water.

Beaches with signs include Carpinteria, Leadbetter, Mesa Lane and Hendry's in Southern Santa Barbara County.

Another shark was sighted near the kelp bed off Naples, a less populated area west of Goleta.

Visitors to the area appeared to be more cautious than the local residents at Hendry's yesterday, including a family from Colorado that said they would stay on the sand and play it safe.

A longtime surfer cautioned swimmers to be aware of their surroundings, claiming that chances of being attacked go up if you are near visible seals or sea lions.

Oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau says he believes attacks by sharks on humans are mistakes.

He says the sharks confuse swimmers for a food source,  and usually either look for a seal or sea lion. For a shark, that can easily be confused for something that similar in shape, like a surfer in a dark wet suit on a board.

If a shark accidentally targets a human, Cousteau says even after a bite, the shark will usually leave.

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