Red Tide Drives 'Hundreds' of Sharks Into Florida Canals, Media Says
One expert reportedly warned that sharks that avoid the red tide in those canals might end up running out of food, and that “some of them, if not all of them, might die”.
Numerous sharks of various sizes and belonging to various species have been spotted in backyard canals in Longboat Key, Florida, local NBC affiliate WFLA-TV reports.
According to the media outlet, shark species seen in the area included bonnethead, black tip, nurse and lemon sharks, with locals suggesting that there were hundreds or possibly thousands of these aquatic predators.
"You literally could have walked across the canal on the backs of shark — that’s how many there were," said Janelle Branower, a Longboat Key resident.
This development has reportedly been linked by experts to the so-called red tide, an algal bloom harmful to marine life.
"When the red tide comes around, the animals don’t like it so they are seeking areas that don’t have red tide. In this particular case, it happened to be the canal where these people live at," said Jack Morris, senior biologist with Mote’s Sharks and Rays Research Program. "They are basically avoiding the red tide, seeking a safe haven into these canals in this estuary."
He also mentioned that, as long as a "persistent red tide" remains in the area, "it is going to keep them contained into those canals which don’t have red tide".
"If it goes long enough, they are going to run out of food and they are going to run out of energy. Unfortunately some of them, if not all of them, might die," Morris remarked.