Video Shows Dozens of Sharks Lurking Off Busy Florida Beach
Sharks are getting closer, more often.
Even if you've read the stories about the rise in shark attacks in American coastal waters this summer, it's a shocking sight: A new video shows 15 to 20 sharks milling around in waters about 450 feet off the Florida shoreline. Read on to see the wild video, and why sharks are getting closer to beaches and spending more time there.
Local TV station WKRG captured the video of the dozens of sharks near Pensacola Beach at about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
More than 13 shark species inhabit the Florida coast, using the areas near shore as nurseries for their young, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) says. In 2022, 19 shark attack bites have been recorded by Tracking Sharks. Thankfully, none were fatal. (In the state, shark bites are fatal less than one percent of the time.)
"It's very important for people who visit Florida waters to be aware of their surroundings, understand the relative risks, and be educated on various shark issues such as behavior, biology and fisheries," the FWC's Brent Winner told the Sun. Keep reading to see the video.
It's not just your imagination—or that of click-thirsty news producers: Sharks are spending more time closer to shore. That's the conclusion of a study released this summer, which looked at Florida shark activity and found that sharks have adapted to the light and noise of urban areas, potentially drawn by the carcasses of fish discarded by fishermen and businesses.
New York is another place where there have been more shark sightings and bites this summer (although no fatalities). Other aquatic creatures like dolphins have been increasingly seen closer to shore as well. Improving water quality, rising water temperatures due to climate change, and the resurgence of bunker (a type of fish water-dwelling predators feed on) have been posited as reasons.
Sharks generally aren't aggressive toward people. "Most sharks are not dangerous to humans, says the National Ocean Service. "People are not part of their natural diet." However, sharks may attack when they are confused or curious. "If a shark sees a human splashing in the water, it may try to investigate, leading to an accidental attack."
But severe shark-bite injuries have been seen recently. In June, 17-year-old Addison Bethea was attacked by a nine-foot shark near a Florida beach. As she and her brother fought off the shark, she was bitten several times. Ultimately, the teen had to get her leg amputated and spend 37 days in the hospital. But she is recovering: "She had several successful surgeries to save as much of her leg as possible and is on the path to recovery and eventually using a prosthesis," the hospital said in a Facebook post.