Thousands of sharks migrate along SE Florida coast

Published: Mar. 3, 2018 at 4:19 PM CST
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The video is spectacular. Thousands of blacktip sharks head south along the Florida coastline in the largest migration in U.S. coastal waters.

The video, courtesy of Florida Atlantic University, shows the annual event as the “snowbirds of the Sea” make their move. Scientists estimate there are as many as 15,000 sharks on any given day, so odds are that anyone in the water will be within a 60-foot radius.

As they move through the water, the blacktip sharks weed out weak and sick fish species to help preserve the coral reefs and sea grasses.

They go south during the cold months and back north when it warms up.

“Last year, we saw a dramatic decline in the number of blacktip sharks that migrated south. In fact, it was so low that we estimated the population to be about one-third of what we have seen in previous years,” said Kajiura, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and director of the Elasmobranch Research Laboratory in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. “We want to make sure that these snowbirds come back to South Florida, because if they don’t, it will have a huge ecological impact in this region.”

Learn more about the blacktip migration on the FAU website.