Most people love the warm weather of Florida, but humans are not the only ones. More than 10,000 Blacktip sharks were caught on cam hanging out off the coast of Palm Beach County.
Florida Atlantic University's Professor Stephen Kajiura says the sharks are only several hundred feet away from the shore.
"It's not unusual, but it's great to see them," says Kajiura.
Kajiura is particularly interested in the biological science surrounding the senses of fish. He began to study Blacktip sharks in 2011, where he counted the species after it migrated to Florida for the winter. He says the large number of sharks recently discovered is quite ordinary during this time as it has become part of the species' winter sojourn.
Blacktip sharks usually stay in the Carolinas and Georgia during the summer months. During this time too, the species mate and give birth to new pups.
When Blacktips move to Florida, the sharks spread across the stretch of Miami to Jupiter Inlet, occupying a distance of about 80 miles.
The sharks are about 6.5 feet long and are called as such due to its distinct black marks on the tips of the dorsal fins.
Just An Overview
Kajiura says the more than 10,000 Blacktip sharks recently spotted represent only the visible ones from the shore. The truth is that it's just a gross underestimate and much like an overview of the total number of sharks there.
For the survey, a high-definition digital still camera was set up on a plane window. The plane flew adjacent to the beach and captured still images that Kajiura later reviewed.
He says there are so much more sharks on the other side of the plane; hence, there are much more to look at.
"We simply don't know how big this school is, how far it extends off into deeper water," he says.
Despite the seemingly scary number of sharks in a popular beach destination, Kajiura says there is not much to fear.
One caution for swimmers is to avoid wearing sparkly and reflective things while swimming. Blacktip sharks eat small, shiny fish; therefore, it may be mistaken that these accessories are food. If the water is murky, the sharks may sense the light signals that humans carry as preys.
Apart from this, no other special advice would be necessary. Kajiura says Blacktips are not the curious types and if people just use their common sense in dealing with the species, then the sharks will most probably ignore human presence.
Kajiura says people may not even need to swim to see the sharks. Staying on the shore may already give people access to a show of Blacktip sharks jumping and splashing into the water.
"They're not out to get you, you're not part of their diet, so you may as well go to the beach and enjoy the phenomenon," Kajiura assures.
Photo: Brian Gratwicke | Flickr