Posted by: stiltsville | February 4, 2010

Great White attack alleged off Stuart

A 38-year-old kite surfer was attacked and killed by sharks off Stuart Wednesday afternoon in Martin County’s first fatal shark attack. The lifeguard who made the rescue spotted several sharks surrounding the victim.

There is some speculation that the extreme cold weather this year has allowed juvenile Great Whites to travel farther south than usual. One of the Great Whites tagged off Cape Cod last year was tracked to Jacksonville where the satellite tag popped off. Bite marks will eventually identify the species.

At this time of year, sharks make their annual southern migration, following huge schools of baitfish along Florida’s east coast beaches. The Palm Beach TV stations have the usual helicopter photos of these big shark schools today. Most of the schooling sharks are hammerhead, lemon and spinners. Bull and tiger sharks generally seek warmer water and are not usually here in winter. However, there were tiger shark reports and a hammerhead was caught off Singer Island just last week.

A 20-year-old report analyzing 100,000 sharks caught off Florida’s east coast over a ten-year period in the early 1900s shows only 27 GW sharks in the bunch. There just are not many of them coming down here. The water is just too warm.

FRIDAY: Newspaper reports Burgess says it was bull or tiger.


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