The catch and release of a young great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) off of a Florida beach near Panama City has been making headlines for the past few days. According to a photo on Dark Side Sharker’s Facebook page, fisherman Derrick Keeny landed the shark on March 1, 2015. The male white shark measured 9’8″ and is believed to be the first of its species to be landed from a beach in the Gulf of Mexico. The fisherman tagged the shark as part of the NOAA/NMFS Cooperative Tagging Plan and released it back into the ocean.
While the fishermen involved in the catch seemed to be well-intentioned with the tagging and release of the shark. Some shark researchers and conservationists called into question the legality of bringing the shark up onto the beach and posing for pictures, which is in violation of Florida’s protected species regulations, which specifically prohibit delaying the release of the shark for measurements and photos. It has yet to be reported whether the fishermen involved will be subjected to any legal repercussions.
According to the OCEARCH Facebook page, the OCEARCH team has successfully tagged a 14.5′ female white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) off the coast of Jacksonville, FL. The shark, nicknamed “Lydia,” is the first white shark ever to be SPOT tagged off the Florida coast.
Florida’s Fox4Now is reporting that a 47-year-old German woman was bitten by a shark yesterday, off Florida’s Vero Beach. The woman was in waist-deep water when she was bitten on her left leg. According to the report, the victim suffered severe injuries to her leg, as a result of the bite.
TCPalm reports that she was out of surgery last night and listed in serious condition, according to a hospital spokesperson. Lifeguards and beachgoers assisted the woman and helped to stabilize her until emergency medical support arrived.
The species involved in the attack has not yet been identified.
A team of University of Miami researchers, including shark researcher Neil Hammerschlag, have conducted a study using satellite telemetry on tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) in an attempt to learn what kind of impact ecotourism (in this case, baited shark dives) has on the shark’s long-range migration and habitat utilization.
Sample groups were taken from Florida (where baited shark dives are illegal) and the Bahamas (where baited shark dives are abundant). Analysis of the data from each sample group did not produce a significant difference in the measures of movement and behavior evaluated by the study. Additionally, the data revealed information about long-range migration behavior among both sample groups that was previously unknown.
Florida’s WPTV is reporting that in 2011 Florida saw its lowest number of shark attacks in over a decade. This figure is from a recent report on global shark attacks from the University of Florida’s ISAF.
While Florida saw no fatal shark attacks during 2011, the report indicates that the number of worldwide human fatalities due to shark attacks reached a two-decade high of 12 fatal attacks. The ISAF report recorded 75 instances of "unprovoked" attacks worldwide.
In addition to the interactions labelled as "unprovoked," there were 29 recorded "provoked" attacks. The "provoked" attacks included interactions such as a diver grabbing a shark, a fisherman being bitten while removing a shark from a net, and bites that occurred while a human was feeding a shark.