Town of Palm Beach News

Thousands of Sharks Off Palm Beach

A common fear among residents and tourists on South Florida’s coast has always been the predator of the seas— the shark. Florida Atlantic University’s biology professor Stephen Kajiura has dedicated a large part of his research to understanding sharks and their migration; more specifically, their migration to our beaches.

Dr. Kajiura heads the Elasmobranch Research Laboratory at FAU. This laboratory uses student and faculty expertise to examine and monitor sharks so that we may have a better understanding of their species. Part of the research involves taking plane and boat rides just off the coast of Palm Beach County to observe migration patterns. Dr. Kajiura says that he will go out on the plane (to get an aerial view of migration patterns) and boat (to tag the fish) once a week for the next couple of months, weather permitting of course. 

Thousands of Sharks Off Palm Beach

Just last week Dr. Kajirua went down the coast line and discovered that in the narrow band of his scope, he estimated some 10,000 sharks had migrated to just 200 meters off shore. He said, “I like to equate that measurement to about two football fields.” He also said that the 10,000 is just a fraction of what is further off shore. “There are plenty of more sharks if you look on the other side of the plane.”

The professor told us that the sharks head down south around mid-January and stay until the end of March. He said, “South Florida is the sharks’ southern terminus.” After March, the sharks will head back up north for the summer and the females will give birth.

So, should beach-goers be worried about shark attacks? Dr. Kajirua explained, “Well, people should always exercise caution in the water. Use common sense swimming. These sharks like small, shiny bait fish so be careful about wearing shiny jewelry in the ocean and also try to avoid swimming between dusk and dawn when there is poor visibility; when sharks can confuse you for fish. But, the sharks are skittish. They are likely to bolt if you jump in and swim with them.”

You can WATCH the video of the thousands of sharks off Palm Beach by clicking here:

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Jess specializes in local news coverage. She is a hands on reporter attending every event and meeting she can in the community.

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