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Treasure Coast Essay

Prime time for sharks

  As the newspaper USA Today recently noted, Shark Week on television is over, but it is still prime time for sharks off east central Florida, including the Treasure Coast.  This is the time of the year when large schools of bait fish are migrating from north to south.  They like to spend the winter where it is warmer, just like humans.  Close behind the mullet, anchovies and herring are hungry sharks – black tip, spinner and sandbar.  The small fish like to swim in the warm shallow water near the shore line.  The sharks follow them.  Unfortunately, that is where humans like to swim and surf.  Sometimes sharks mistake humans for prey.  The odds of being attacked by a shark are miniscule – one in 11.5 million.  But it does happen.  In 2013, there were 23 shark attacks in Florida, none fatal.  So be careful.  The International Shark Attack File has some valuable advice for us:  If you see a lot of fish schooling and jumping, stay on the beach.  Sharks may be closing in on them.  Do not swim at dusk, dawn or at night.  That is when sharks are most active.  Do not enter the water if you are bleeding.  Do not swim, dive or surf alone.  Sharks are more likely to bite a solitary human.  Do swim near a lifeguard.  Remember: Sharks consider the ocean to be their home.  We are intruders.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.