The heat. The baseball season. Spring break.
These are all here or coming soon. Don’t forget shark migration season, too.
The annual trek by thousands of blacktip sharks to Florida waters has begun.
Already, man and snowbird fish have met — practically head-on. Last week a surfer fell off his board and landed right on top, or very near, a migrating blacktip shark.
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Generally, about 15,000 sharks make their ways into our waters every year at this time. They generally munch on other smaller fish so there’s little reason to be overly concerned. Marine scientists say this is a good thing because it thins out fish that feed on coral reefs and sea grass.
But this year, scientists expect a few thousand fewer will swim to South Florida.
Florida Atlantic University researcher Stephen Kajiura told Florida Today he used to count about 12,000 blacktip sharks in South Florida during the winter migrations after he began his research in 2011.
“Now we're looking in the range of a few thousand at the most,” he said.
He told WPLG-Local 10 that in 2017 he noted a “dramatic decline” in the number of blacktip sharks that migrated south. “It was so low that we estimated the population to be about one-third of what we have seen in previous years,” Kajiura said.
“We want to make sure that these snowbirds come back to South Florida, because if they don’t, it will have a huge ecological impact in this region.”