Schools of sharks normal for Florida

April 8, 2005 at 10:36 AM
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JUPITER, Fla., April 8 (UPI) -- The schools of sharks along Florida's east coast happens every year, experts say, but they're not usually as photogenic as they are this year.

David Snyder, a marine biologist with Continental Shelf Associates in Jupiter, said the sharks have caught more attention this year because they are congregating in shallow, clear waters, the Palm Beach Post reported Friday.

"Whenever the visibility is good, the helicopters go up and get pictures of them," Snyder said.

He said the sharks are following warm water north from their winter habitat to their summer homes.

George Burgess, a biologist and director of shark research at the Florida Museum of Natual History in Gainesville, Fla., said probably 90 percent of the hundreds of sharks are blacktips.

He said they feed on fish such as mullet, whiting, jacks or ladyfish.

He said if there are problems with biting humans they are usually sharks mistaking a splashing hand or foot for a small fish.

"These are not your typical shark-attack sharks. They're more of a hit and run," Burgess said.

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