Tags: sharks | florida | coast | migration

Sharks on Florida Coast: Photos Reveal Thousands of Blacktips Circling Waters

Image: Sharks on Florida Coast: Photos Reveal Thousands of Blacktips Circling Waters
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By    |   Tuesday, 16 Feb 2016 09:17 AM

Sharks have flocked to the Florida coast by the thousands, from Miami to Jupiter, in a seasonal gathering of the underwater predators, according to researchers at Florida Atlantic University.

Researchers saw more than 10,000 sharks wandering in an area about 200 yards off Palm Beach on Friday during an aerial survey, according to the Palm Beach Daily News. Florida Atlantic scientists have been monitoring the sharks by air and by boat.

"We bring them up beside the boat, we measure them, put a transmitter on some of them," Stephen Kajiura, head of Florida Atlantic's shark lab, told the Daily News. "They are only maybe six feet at the most. So they are not big difficult sharks to work with."

"We're interested in the habitat used by these blacktip sharks. You have this large seasonal influx of these top-level predators, and they are going to have a dramatic impact on the local ecosystem," he added.

The sharks will likely hang around until March, when they will migrate toward the Georgia and the Carolina coasts, Kajiura told Fox13news.com. Once further north, the females will give birth around June, mate again, then move back to Florida in the winter.

Kajiura, who flies over the shark-infested waters in a Cessna, told the television station that the shark gathering is a sign of a healthy ecosystem.

"Being the pilot and the scientist, I know exactly what I need to do," he said. "It's visually compelling to see these sharks close to shore, but it's not cause for concern."

By tagging some of the sharks with a transmitter, researchers can study their migration patterns. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, blacktip sharks are one of the most common shark species off the Florida coast.

A world shark attack record was set last year with 98 incidents, six of them leading to deaths, according to the International Shark Attack File. Fifty-nine of those attacks happened in the United States, a number that set a record as well.

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Sharks have flocked to the Florida coast by the thousands, from Miami to Jupiter, in a seasonal gathering of the underwater predators, according to researchers at Florida Atlantic University.
sharks, florida, coast, migration
336
2016-17-16
Tuesday, 16 Feb 2016 09:17 AM
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