Sharks are in Abundance off the Gulf Coast

Sharks are a common sighting to boaters, fisherman and even swimmers in the Gulf these days. Videos and pictures of sharks can be found all over social media including this video (click here for video) of a nice size hammerhead in shallow water taken by James Lowe of Lowe Tide Fishing Charters

Many are following the tracking of two Great White Sharks that are currently off the west coast of Florida. Betsy and Katharine were tagged by Ocearch, a non-profitt research organization that tracks great whites and other large predators. These two sharks have traveled thousands of miles down the east coast of the U.S. and are west of Cape Coral, FL as of their last ping.

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The above picture is of a great white that was photographed off the coast of Jupiter, FL by two fishermen. It was estimated to be between 11 and 15 feet.

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This is a picture taken by Captain Dave Mistretta of Jaws Too Fishing Charters of a giant hammerhead devouring a tarpon right off of Indian Rocks Beach. Mistretta estimated the hammerhead to be 14 feet and said he was very aggressive.

As we enter summer, many head to the beach and nearby islands to enjoy the water. Don’t let the idea of a shark attack keep you out of the water. Sharks rarely attack humans and do not consider us a food source. Normally when they do attack it is a case of mistaken identity.

Here are tips from NOAA on how to avoid a shark attack:

1) Stay in groups and do not wander away from your companions, since sharks are more likely to attack individuals.

2) Avoid being in the water during early morning and late afternoon, since sharks actively feed at those times.

3) Never go into the water if you are bleeding, even if the cut or injury is minor. Sharks possess very keen senses, and blood could attract one from several feet away.

4) Don’t wear shiny jewelry when in the water. The glisten mimics fish-scale sheen and visually labels you as shark prey.

5) Stay away from sport or commercial fishermen when in the water, as their catches could attract sharks.

6) Avoid wearing brightly colored clothing in murky waters, since sharks easily perceive color contrasts.

7) Refrain from excessive splashing, which could mimic the movements of injured or disoriented prey fish and animals.

8) Sandbars, steep drop-offs and estuary inlets tend to be shark hangouts, so avoid swimming in these places.

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