Florida Fish and Wildlife researchers snapped a photo of a 12- to 14-foot great white shark swimming four nautical miles off Atlantic Beach’s coast.
“It scares me a little bit. I probably wouldn’t get in the water after I saw that,” beachgoer Joanna Chapman said.
University of North Florida Shark Biology Program Director Dr. Jim Gelsleichter said the great white was particularly close to shore, but still within the normal range.
He said beach lovers don’t need to swim to shore.
“The white sharks that were tagged by OCEARCH – in particular, Mary Lee – got very close to shore, particularly in the surf zone on Jacksonville Beach, and that hasn’t posed a problem,” Gelsleichter said.
Gelsleichter returned a few days ago from OCEARCH’s second expedition in Jacksonville, where researchers tried to capture, tag and release more great whites.
“Unfortunately, although the aerial survey did see white sharks on several days that we were conducting the expedition, we weren’t successful in attracting them to the boat,” Gelsleichter said.
But his team was able to perform ultrasounds on a pregnant blacknose shark and a sand tiger shark.
“It was kind of on the bucket list,” Gelsleichter said.
He said the blood samples collected will help develop a blood test for shark pregnancy.
Florida is the shark attack capital of the world, but a great white shark attack on a human has never been recorded here.
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