Town of Palm Beach News

Increased Shark Activity Near the Shore

With the summer season ready to kick off in Florida, there is no doubt that local beaches will be packed with tourists and locals alike heading for the refreshing waters in refuge from the hot Florida sun. This large influx of beach goers paired with the increased shark activity near the shore, both of which is due to the warm summer conditions, is causing some worry to the locals of the Town of Palm Beach.

Though encounters with sharks are rare they are not exactly unheard of, with a recent shark attack having taken place only a few weeks ago in Neptune Beach and one right on the coast of Palm Beach occurring last November, and can have devastating results.

While migration is in fact a big contributing factor to what is bringing some of the sharks closer to Palm Beach’s shores, it is believed that what is drawing in the more dangerous species, such as the massive tiger shark or the highly unpredictable bull shark, is something that is controllable, even preventable: Chumming.

Chumming is the use of fish parts and blood by fishermen on the shore to attract larger fish, usually sharks, from the deeper waters. This method of drawing in predatory fish, by figuratively ringing the dinner bell closer to shore, has obvious unintended consequences; especially to those who are swimming a few miles away and unaware of the chumming and the potential of encountering one of the carnivores being lured in by the smell of a kill.

Increased Shark Activity Near the Shore

“These are the same waters that children use for recreational swimming, so there is an obvious concern for their wellbeing, as shark behavior is being conditioned to swim near shore for food” stated Deputy Town Manager, Jay Boodheshwar.

In an effort to reduce unnecessary encounter to these potentially dangerous animals, and partly thanks to the concerns of residents who are filing worried complaints of sharks in areas where their children swim, the Town of Palm Beach Council has decided to study the effects of chumming and fishing off of Palm Beach’s coast for a few months.

 The results of the study will help the council decide whether or not the Town of Palm Beach will enforce any restrictions on chumming in the future.

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Evan S.

Evan S.

Carter is obsessed with breaking news and has written for several newspapers and blogs around the country.

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