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Space Coast – Sharks, Sharks and more Sharks

It seems that sharks have been in the local Melbourne news recently.   Here’s an overview of these stories:

Shark Watch

There are currently five great white sharks known to be hanging out in the south Florida area:  Betsy, Gina, Sabrina, Katharine and Lori Ann. Although these are, by no means, all the great white sharks swimming off the Florida coast; they are ones who have been outfitted with a GPS tracking device and whose movements we can track.

Many in the local area go on “shark watch” and will follow the shark’s movements via an online tool that tracks the GPS pings.  Although none of these great whites are right off the coast closest to us, there’s always the possibility they might decide to turn course at any time.

Check out the Global Shark Tracker 

Shark Bite

On May 16th, an unidentified 38-year old woman and her family decided to head to a beach near Ponce DeLeon Park on Melbourne beach.  She and her brother decided to head out onto the water on body board, when without warning, a shark took a big chunk out of her leg.  Her family and other beach-goers were able to pull her out of the water and get her emergency attention.  She was treated at the Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne.  There is no word on her current condition, although it has been reported that although she was losing a lot of blood, she was awake and alert when she got to the hospital.

Shark Encounter

Jimmy Roseman, a resident of West Melbourne, FLA, decided to go diving. He attached his underwater camera to his head and submerged into the waters of Vero Beach. During his dive, he apparently attracted the attention of a great white shark.  The shark not only took notice of Jimmy, it kept coming back, sometimes getting within 6-7 feet.

In an effort to get the shark away from him, Jimmy poked at the shark with his spear gun until it left and his camera caught the entire event on video.  After uploading his video to the internet, it has gone viral and been showcased on multiple news sites and is also available on YouTube.

Prohibiting shark fishing?

Have these simply been instances that will occur when man enters the shark’s environment or is there something else going on?  According to some local residents, the local shark fishing may not only be attracting sharks to the area, but may also be making them more aggressive.

Shark fishermen will attract the sharks they wish to catch by chumming up the water with dead fish. Once a shark knows that a particular area may have plenty of food available, sharks tend to come back to that same area the next time they are hungry.  And when sharks are hungry and looking for food, they can become aggressive.

These locals believe that, in areas where there is shark fishing, sharks are coming closer and closer to shore in order to find their food source.  Unfortunately, this means more shark-human interactions, which may also mean that humans could end up being the loser in the confrontation.

Due to their concerns, many local residents have asked Mayor Simms to prohibit shark fishing at Melbourne Beach.  The item will be discussed at the town commission meeting.

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