SWIMMERS are terrified to enter the water off the Florida coast after 10,000 sharks were spotted just a few hundred feet from shore, agencies report. The blacktip sharks are being spotted in far greater numbers than usual, clogging the coastline around Palm Beach.
Thankfully nobody has been bitten by the sharks yet and as they are considerably smaller than Great Whites, attacks are usually non-fatal. Describing the dramatic increase in sharks, Stephen Kajiura, an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University, told ABC News: “It’s not unusual, but it’s great to see them”.
Lifeguards haven’t yet closed Palm Beach, which is still packed with visitors. But there are understood to be fewer people venturing into the water than usual. “For the most part, if you look historically, we have relatively few bites on people by blacktips in this area,” Kajiura said.
“Most of the bites have been further north in Daytona.” The news comes as it was revealed that there were more shark attacks in 2015 than in any other year since records began. The number of humans attacked by sharks rose to 92, resulting in six deaths, according to figures from the International Shark Attack File in Florida.
Surfers amounted for almost half of the victims, with swimmers making up 42 per cent. The figure, which includes only unprovoked attacks so does not count fishermen, is the highest since the database began, and 10 more than in the previous record year, 2000.