The moment tens of thousands of sharks “swarm” feet from a popular tourist beach is captured in a terrifying video.
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.
The blacktip shark is a targeted species in a number of commercial fisheries, including the longline fishery off the southeast coast of the U.S. where it comprises about 7% of the catch. It is also regularly captured in fixed bottom nets and in shrimp trawls. The meat is used for fish meal or sold in local markets for human consumption. The fins are sold to Asian markets. The hides have also been used for leather.
Blacktip sharks are sometimes caught by sportfishers off Florida, the Caribbean islands, and South Africa. They are reported to give a good fight, often leaping out of the water. According to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) a record size blacktip shark, caught in the Bahamas on rod and reel weighed 82 lbs.
Groups of blacktip sharks are regularly observed at recreational shark feeding dives in the Caribbean where they mix in with Caribbean reef sharks, Carcharhinus perezi.
The International Shark Attack File (ISAF) indicates that blacktip sharks are historically responsible for 28 unprovoked attacks on humans around the world. Attacks were reported in the United States (Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama), the Caribbean (Bahamas and British Virgin Islands), and South Africa. None of these attacks ended in fatality, but commonly resulted in relatively minor bite wounds. Blacktip sharks are responsible for roughly 16% of the attacks that occur in Florida waters, often striking surfers.