A group of researchers caught on camera an impressive migration event as tens of thousands of sharks swam dangerously close to Florida’s shoreline. The video shows how thousands of blacktip sharks invade Florida’s coastal waters in an attempt to reach warmer waters.
Dr. Stephen Kajiura, the director of Florida Atlantic University’s shark lab, caught the animals on tape on Feb. 12 from a 500 feet altitude above Cessna 172 waters. The researcher was surveying the waters to see the creatures’ current location as he has been tracking them for weeks.
The sharks were moving so tightly together that one could throw a stone from the beach and actually hit an animal, Kajiura noted. Blacktip shark experts said that the creatures’ favorite spots to lurk are Florida’s waters between the Jupiter Inlet and Miami Beach.
While Jupiter Inlet is densely populated by the sharks, researchers do not yet know why blacktips are so mysteriously attracted toward Palm Beach’s coastline. Dr. Kajiura is currently trying to get to the bottom of this with his new work.
But the work does not only imply weekly aerial surveys. Kajiura also fishes the dangerous animals and tags as many of them as possible. And this migratory season is the perfect time to do it, as tens of thousands of specimens would be populating Florida’s waters through March.
Kajiura noted that the time is short, so he plans to survey and fish the animals at least once a week. When the migratory event is over, there will be no trace of sharks left as all of them will swarm the warmer, northern waters.
Nevertheless, the migratory season will take a dramatic toll on the local ecosystem, biologists noted. Beachgoers and surfers are advised to stay away from waters as the event is ongoing. Florida is currently on the top of the list with the highest number of shark attacks.
According to International Shark Attack File, in 2015, the Sunshine State broke the national record with 30 shark attacks of 164 shark bites reported worldwide. Currently, 51 percent of U.S. shark attacks happen in Florida.
While the figures may be discouraging to even the bravest swimmers, researchers said that during the annual migration season the number of incidents is surprisingly low.
Plus, though blacktips account for most attacks in the state, their bite is rarely life-threatening. Kajiura explained that their teeth are too small to produce any massive damage to a human.
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