The migration of the black tip shark often takes place during winter, yet sharks didn’t show up in time. Now, tens of thousands black tip sharks are swarming right offshore from Palm Beach, Florida. The migration usually takes place in January, but sharks waited until the end of the month to make an appearance.
According to Dr. Stephen Kajiura, a biologist from the Florida Atlantic University, this migration delay can be the result of the 2016’s El Nino. The phenomenon’s strong effects could cause a change in shark’s behavior as well as other marine animals. Although sharks didn’t arrive as soon as it was expected, they showed up in incredibly high numbers to make up for it, reaching more than 10,000 off the coast of Palm Beach.
Every winter, thousands of blacktip sharks migrate along the Atlantic coast looking for warmer temperatures. And it makes sense sharks would want warmer waters because their migration matches with their mating season. The black tip sharks are often found in waters from South Carolina to Texas. They are named black tip for the black markings on their fins and body.
In spite of this, this shark species poses no big threat for people as no fatal attacks have been accredited to this species in the region, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Thanks to this shark frenzy happening just off the coast of Palm Beach, researchers like Dr. Kajiura can take a closer look at this species in order to study its habits and behavior.
It’s best for beachgoers and surfers to wait for the mating and migrating season to be over before heading to the beach. However, this species of shark is known to be relatively harmless as they scatter away when confronted by humans, yet, they can be aggressive if provoked. The reason behind what could cause the delay of the black tip sharks migration still baffles scientists and biologists.
Warming ocean temperatures play a major role according to Dr. Kajiura, as the waters up north stay warmer for longer periods, sharks have no reason to leave in a hurry. There are still lots of data to study before researchers can determine the cause of behavior changes on marine animals, but Kajiura’s research may be on the right track.
Dr. Stephen Kajiura stated that he captured over 170 sharks in just one frame of a video he shot of the migrating event. The biologist from the Florida Atlantic University has been studying this particular species for years and is still amazed by their lifestyle.