More than 10,000 Blacktip Sharks Spotted Near Palm Beach, Florida

February 16, 2016 3:43 pm Last Updated: February 16, 2016 4:44 pm

In the video above, air airplane flies over the Florida coastline on the morning of Feb. 12, capturing footage of swarms of blacktip sharks migrating south over the winter. The tiny dots clustered in the video are all sharks.

The sharks are said to be around 6 feet in length each, and they usually travel south for the winter.

You could throw a pebble and literally strike a shark. They are that close.
— Stephen Kajiura, biologist

And the blacktips are only several hundred feet from shore, Stephen Kajiura, an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University, told ABC News. Observing them migrate is normal, but this year the number is unusually large.

Biologists say it’s normal for the sharks to do this.

“It’s not unusual, but it’s great to see them,” Kajiura told ABC News.

Kajiura added to CBS 12 in Florida: “There are literally tens of thousands of sharks a stone’s throw away from our shoreline. You could throw a pebble and literally strike a shark. They are that close.”

Fantastic aerial survey flight this morning. Thousands of sharks off Palm Beach and up to Jupiter. Very few sharks…

Posted by FAU Shark Migration on Friday, February 12, 2016

Even though blacktip sharks are likely more scared of humans than humans are scared of them, they are still responsible for the highest number of attacks each year in Florida. They have never killed anyone, however.

“For the most part, if you look historically, we have relatively few bites on people by blacktips in this area,” added Kajiura. “These sharks are really skittish, so when you get in the water, they’re going to scatter and go away.”

Kajiura said he’s tagged 32 sharks so far with tracking devices to observe their migration patterns, and will tag a total of 60 sharks overall.

Blacktip sharks, which have been assessed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are heavily fished and are of high value for anglers.

A blacktip shark (Wikipedia user Albert Kok)
A blacktip shark (Wikipedia user Albert kok)

 

(Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program)
(Dr. James P. McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program)