Quantcast

10,000 Sharks Swarm Florida Coast Beaches

Animals

More than 10,000 blacktip sharks are swimming off the coast of some popular beach towns in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Every winter, thousands of these sharks migrate along the Atlantic coast in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. "But this year they're further north than usual, bringing them within 100 meters of the shoreline," ScienceAlert explained.

"It’s not unusual, but it’s great to see them," shark biologist Stephan Kajiura from Florida Atlantic University told ABC News. "There are literally tens of thousands of sharks a stone's throw away from our shoreline," he told CNN affiliate WPEC. "You could throw a pebble and literally strike a shark. They are that close."

Kajiura is trying to find out why the sharks have stayed near the Palm Beach area this year, rather than continuing further south to the Miami-Dade and Ft. Lauderdale area. He's also looking into why the sharks are a bit later than usual, as they typically show up in the area in mid-January.

"There's speculation that this shift could be triggered by El Niño keeping the East Coast unseasonably warm at the end of last year, as well as ocean temperatures increasing further from the equator," ScienceAlert said.

“One of the ideas may be that as they are getting south, if they are in a suitable habitat, then why not stay,” Kajiura said.

He plans to tag a total of 60 sharks to track how their migration patterns may be changing.

As for whether beachgoers should be concerned, Kajiura said they should be fine as long as they listen to local lifeguards and take regular precautions such as avoiding swimming at dusk and dawn. Lifeguards have not closed any beaches yet, and most locals know this is when the sharks migrate and what precautions they need to take, he said.

Also, the sharks are often more afraid of you than you are of them, Kajiura explained. "For the most part, if you look historically, we have relatively few bites on people by blacktips in this area," he said. "[T]hese sharks are really skittish, so when you get in the water, they’re going to scatter and go away."

"The species doesn't grow much longer than 1.5 meters, and although they're responsible for the highest number of human attacks each year in Florida, they've never bitten anyone fatally," ScienceAlert noted. The waters off Palm Beach County are also remarkably clear, which helps anyone entering the water easily spot the sharks.

There were a record number of shark attacks in 2015, according to the International Shark Attack File. The number of confirmed, unprovoked shark attacks reached 98 worldwide, surpassing the previous record of 88 set back in 2000. Although, it should be noted the 2015 fatality rate was about half (six deaths: 6.1 percent) of that in 2000 (11 deaths: 12.5 percent). Florida led the nation and the world with 30 unprovoked shark attacks, though none of the attacks were fatal.

The International Shark Attack File noted that we can expect to see an increase in shark attacks as global populations continue to increase and humans spend an "ever-increasing amount of time" in the ocean.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Gruesome Tumors on Sea Turtles Linked to Climate Change and Pollution

NASA: 4 Billion People at Risk as ‘Water Table Dropping All Over the World’

150,000 Penguins Die After Huge Iceberg Blocks Route to Sea

Another Animal Dies at SeaWorld Bringing Death Toll to 4 Large Mammals in Just 4 Months

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Record flood water levels in Venice hit again on Sunday making this the worst week of flooding in the city in over 50 years.

Read More Show Less

By Brian Barth

Late fall, after the last crops have been harvested, is a time to rest and reflect on the successes and challenges of the gardening year. But for those whose need to putter around in the garden doesn't end when cold weather comes, there's surely a few lingering chores. Get them done now and you'll be ahead of the game in spring.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
(L) 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle that is studded with glycoprotein tubercles.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC

The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Austin Nuñez is Chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, which joined with the Hopi and Pascua Yaqui Tribes to fight a proposed open-pit copper mine on sacred sites in Arizona. Mamta Popat

By Alison Cagle

Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Navajo Nation has suffered from limited freshwater resources as a result of climate, insufficient infrastructure, and contamination. They collaborated with NASA to develop the Drought Severity Evaluation Tool. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.

Read More Show Less
Wild Exmoor ponies graze on a meadow in the Czech Republic. rapier / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Nanticha Ocharoenchai

In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.

Read More Show Less

Despite huge strides in improving the lives of children since 1989, many of the world's poorest are being left behind, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF warned Monday.

Read More Show Less