Thousands of sharks were spotted migrating off of the Florida coast, prompting officials to close several beaches along the state’s southern region.
An estimated 15,000 sharks are currently migrating north through the currents of the Atlantic. They are heading home after their annual pilgrimage south for the winter.
Most of the sharks spotted so far have been spinners. They were given the name for how they leap out of the water and spin in the air while they hunt their prey.
Lifeguards in St. Lucie County have reported seeing a few sharks since the beginning of the month off South Hutchinson Island. So far, there have been no problems at the beaches, according to county spokesman Erick Gill.
Spinner sharks were spotted off Midtown Beach on Tuesday, prompting red flags to be thrown up and swimmers to be cleared from the ocean. While spinner sharks pose an interesting sight, they are dangerous to swimmers. St. Mary’s Medical Center treats at least five or six shark bite victims per year.
The injuries are usually minor, but they still pose a threat because of infection. One woman, Guirlene Exantus, stated of the spinner sharks, “It’s dangerous. It’s not what you would expect. Families come out here to enjoy the weather, beach, and sand, but now they can’t. They have to travel a little bit further than they should.”
While thousands of sharks migrate up the coast, swimmers have been advised to stay close to shore in shallow waters. Experts also suggest taking off jewelry before entering the water because sharks are attracted to silver, yellow, and gold.
But while tourist Tori Bradshaw from Washington State came to Florida to swim in the warm ocean, she has decided to forego the opportunity because of the sharks. Tori added, “Well, we don’t have sharks in Washington. I really wanted to go swimming.”
One expert, Florida Atlantic University shark researcher Steve Kajiura, added that, despite thinking you are safe, a shark is usually within an average of 60 feet from a swimmer at any given moment between January and February. In explaining why thousands of sharks have been spotted in March, Kajiura added, “Our data has shown that the bulk of the migration occurs in January and February, but it may be a little behind this year due to the warmer weather and water temperatures.”
Would you go swimming in shallow waters in south Florida right now, knowing thousands of sharks are migrating through the area?
[Image via ShutterStock]