Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
Three hundred and seventy five species of sharks have currently been described, and more than 50 of these species can be found in the waters around Florida. Many of these species are deep-water or bottom dwelling creatures, rarely seen by the average Floridian
If you are surf fishing – fishing from the beach – in Florida, you are most likely to catch a 3-foot long shark called the Atlantic sharpnose shark (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae). This species resembles the blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus), because it has black-tipped fins. Other sharks commonly encountered in Florida include: bonnethead sharks, shovelnose sharks, blacknose sharks and spinner sharks. When surf fishermen catch Atlantic sharpnose sharks from the beach, it often sends beachgoers into a panic because the blacktip shark is the shark responsible for the vast majority of attacks on humans.
Worldwide, the US has the greatest number of shark attacks, and within the US, Florida is way ahead of other states in the number of unprovoked attacks. For example, in 2006 there were 23 unprovoked attacks in Florida, compared to 4 in South Carolina, 3 in Hawaii and Oregon, and 2 in California.
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