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Shark bites increasing with growing shark, tourism population

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Experts say shark bites are still a rare occurrence considering the millions of people who visit Florida’s beaches every year.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Florida beachgoers were on high alert following Friday’s shark bites along the state’s panhandle. Three people were injured and Walton County beaches were shut down over the weekend.

According to data from the International Shark Attack File, Florida is considered the shark attack capital of the world. St. Johns and Duval counties rank fourth and fifth highest for shark bites in the state. Volusia County is number one. 

Dr. Quinton White is the executive director of the Marine Science Research Institute at Jacksonville University. He said the number of shark bites is going up as the shark population grows and more people enjoy Florida’s beaches.

“We have more sharks in the water than we used to, which is a good thing, because that’s an indication that our fisheries are returning, which is a good thing. And we’re also having more people in the water because more and more people are now living in Florida and coming to Florida in the summertime to vacation. So when you have more sharks and more people, you’re gonna have more bites,” White explained.

White said sharks bite people simply out of curiosity or to see if the person is a food source. He said people also splash around while they are in the water and shark are attracted to vibration.

Despite shark bites becoming more common, White assured they are still very rare. He said people should still have fun in the ocean while staying aware of their surroundings.

“You’re probably in more danger driving to and from the beach and being in a car accident than you are being bitten by a shark while you’re at the beach,” White said.

White reminds everyone to stay aware while they are in the water, swim in a group and stay close to the shore. 

Ocean Rescue confirmed there have been no shark bites at Jacksonville Beach so far for 2024.

Read More: Shark bites increasing with growing shark, tourism population

2024-06-10 23:29:00

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