Thousands of Blacktip Sharks Congregate off Florida Coast

Apparently, retirees are not the only ones who come to Florida for the winter. More than 10,000 blacktip sharks have been spotted enjoying the water off the coast of Palm Beach County.

The massive school is being tracked just north of Fort Lauderdale by the Florida Atlantic University Shark Migration Program, which recently posted aerial footage of the sharks to Facebook. 

It’s part of an annual migration pattern that has the sharks congregating off the Florida coast waiting to head to warmer waters further south.

“This is a particularly compelling migration, because it happens so close to shore in such clear waters, and because it happens in such a popular winter destination for people,” lead researcher Stephen Kajiura of Florida Atlantic University, told The Christian Science Monitor.

The study marks the first time the migration of blacktip sharks have been documented. This particular species are known as one of the top culprits of the multiple shark attacks that occurred this summer, but these sharks, biologists say, are too small to attack people.

Biologists speculate the blacktips are gathering off Palm Beach County because of the underwater continental shelf that results in a large area of relatively shallow waters.

“Certainly other shark species migrate but they’re in deeper water or we just never see them, so these huge numbers are just the blacktips,” Stephen Kajiura, a professor of biological sciences at FAU told the Orlando Sentinel.

Photo credit: FAU Shark Migration