About 30 Sharks Spotted Near Stuart Inlet, Adding To Growing List Of Sightings In Area Waters
WPTV flew over the waters of Martin County Thursday morning and spotted a school of 30 to 40 sharks just north of the Stuart Inlet.
The dramatic footage comes just days after news of shark sightings and shark attacks have made headlines in Florida and North Carolina, where two swimmers lost limbs in two separate attacks over the weekend. On Monday, St. Lucie County closed beaches after sharks were spotted swimming close to shore.
“The sharks usually just cruise by the beach and leave, but for whatever reason today they were hanging close to the shoreline and made the lifeguards nervous,” St. Lucie County spokesman Erick Gill told TCPalm at the time.
The Sunshine State is actually the most popular location for shark attacks in the nation and the world, according to data from the Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department. Among world locations with the highest shark activity between 2005 and 2014, Florida led the way with 219 attacks, two of them fatal. Australia came in second with 123 attacks, 15 of which were fatal.
Shark researcher George Burgess spoke to the Associated Press about an increase in shark attacks in the last 10 years and credited the uptick to shark conservation efforts, as well as a rising human population and more beachgoers.
"The fact of the matter is, while shark populations rebound and hopefully come to where they once were, the human population is rising every year," Burgess said. "We're not rebounding, we're just bounding."
However, the World Wildlife Organization reminds swimmers that the chances of being attacked by a shark are still pretty rare.
To be on the safe side, the Florida Museum of Natural History warns beachgoers against wandering too far from shore and entering the water with an open wound. And as St. Lucie County officials cautioned residents this week, it’s also wise to swim at beaches where lifeguards are present.