Thousands of Sharks Swimming Offshore Forces Closures of Florida Beaches : The World We Share

Beaches in Palm Beach, Florida, were temporarily closed earlier this week after thousands of sharks were spotted swimming near the shore.

While sharks are always swimming in the coastal waters, the recent migration North has brought thousands of the blacktip and spinner sharks a little later(and closer to shore) than usual.

Lifeguards in Palm Beach say the shark sightings have been occurring daily, and at least 50 to 60 sharks were spotted Tuesday.

Shark expert George H. Burgess cautioned that recent overcast skies may have made it more difficult to spot the sharks in some areas.

“The sharks are in the water all the time,” Burgess said. “You don’t see them, but they’re there.”

ABC news reports that researchers at Florida Atlantic University say they have now counted some 15,000 sharks; most of them were seen less than 200 yards from shore.

The beaches were open this morning after the waters appeared to be clear.  Local officials weren’t sure, however, how long they would stay open.

Once there’s more boat activity the sharks likely will get scared and come closer to shore, Steve Kaes, the training officer for the south district of county lifeguards told the Palm Beach Post.

When a shark is visible near the shore, a lifeguard will close the beach and keep it closed until half hour after the last shark is spotted.