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More shark encounters anticipated in Florida, experts say

Lake Worth Beach pier. (Photo: WPEC)
Lake Worth Beach pier. (Photo: WPEC)
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LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. (WPEC) — Summer is right around the corner and that means more people heading to the beach in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.

Florida Atlantic University biology professor Stephen Kajiura told WPEC that blacktip sharks tend to be smaller, on average around 5 feet. He says their size allows them to get closer to the shore. Based on his research, blacktip sharks account for more shark bites in Florida.

"When it does bite it’s going to be a pinprick bite," he said. "Shark teeth that are going to pierce the skin, but it’s not going to do much more than that."

WPEC's partners at the Sun-Sentinel reported three shark bites in Palm Beach County in just the last few months.

"Are the sharks getting closer to the shore?" asked WPEC reporter Stefany Valderrama.

“Looking at the aerial survey data we have collected over the past years or so, it does not appear that the sharks are any closer to shore, they’ve always been close to shore," Kajiura said. "I think it’s simply a matter of more people in the water increasing the probability that someone is going to get bitten.”

Professor Kajiura did share some tips to keep in mind. He said to try to avoid swimming in murky water or in places where fishermen may be fishing with bait.

"If you are swimming, maybe swim where there’s a lifeguard tower nearby so if you do get bitten you have help immediately available to you," he said.

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