Thousands of blacktip sharks have been swarming Florida beaches lately.
It’s an alarming sight in Florida, as 10,000 to 12,000 blacktip sharks appeared off the coast in a feeding frenzy aimed at small fish — not humans, fortunately. But with shark attacks on the rise, is there reason to believe that these annual gatherings are more dangerous for humans?
The thousands of blacktip sharks in Florida are making their routine annual migration for the Carolina and Georgia coasts down to Florida, where waters are warmer and they can feed to their hearts’ content on schools of fish before heading back up to their breeding grounds in the summer. Although blacktips can get quite large at 6.5 feet in length, they aren’t considered a threat to humans and prefer to stay away, chowing down on small fish instead.
But there’s been growing concerns about rising shark attacks worldwide. The question is, is this because of people, or are sharks becoming more aggressive themselves?
Not surprisingly, experts seem to think it’s because of the people, and sharks are just as relatively docile as they ever have been. Instead, with more people getting in the water and seeking more ocean fun, there are going to be going to be more shark attacks even if that rate of shark attacks on humans stays the same.
Still, shark attacks tend to make big news. Two youths were mauled last year on North Carolina beaches just two miles from each other. Florida itself had 28 shark attacks in 2014. Overall, the numbers are rising — but what is actually falling is the number of deaths from shark attacks. Three people died in 2014 from 72 unprovoked shark attacks last year, half the average number of fatalities over the past decade.
While 72 might sound like a lot, it’s important to remember that that is out of billions upon billions of hours humans spend in the water. The bottom line is, sharks just don’t want anything to do with you — as scary as a sight of 10,000 sharks a few hundred feet off the beach in Florida might appear.
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