PASCO COUNTY, Florida — Living in Florida has both its positives and negatives. We don't have to deal with things like blistering cold winters, but we do have a higher chance than other states of spotting sharks offshore.
Late last week, the Pasco Sheriff's Office posted this video of a large group of sharks in the water just off Anclote Island. We showed the video to local experts in shark research. They say these are blacktip sharks on their annual migration journey north.
"It happens every year for the most part, I think we just don't see it." says Jack Morris, senior biologist for shark research at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. "We've had some unusual weather recently without rainfall, so we're not getting a lot of that tannic water from our rivers, which is making the gulf and the area around the barrier islands very clear. So year after year these animals are there, we just don't see them as well."
Morris says if you happen to find yourself in an area with blacktip sharks around, your best bet is to steer clear.
"Black tip sharks are one of the more common ones known to bite surfers. Even though this is not a surf area, they could still misidentify you as a potential prey item," Morris says.
"Let's say you're a northerner with really white feet, they might think that's a fish and bite your toes."
Researchers say sharks only travel in large groups during this time of year, and migration typically lasts through the end of June.