This Is Why Sharks Stalk the Waters of Crowded Beaches

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    A study led by scientists at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami (UM) has determined that sharks frequent waters near busy urban areas.

    “We were surprised to find that the sharks we’ve tracked spend a lot of time around the lights and sounds of the city – often even close to shore – no matter what time of day it is,” said Neil Hammerschlag, program manager for UM shark research and conservation team who has led the groundbreaking research published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.

    To track the sharks and find out where they are going, they have used a technique called passive acoustic telemetry. That is, they attract sharks with sound by placing transmitters. It is done through a very high frequency that humans cannot hear. The researchers set up underwater listening stations on the beaches of Miami and the Florida Keys.

    “When a shark swims within a few hundred meters of one of those listening stations, it can detect that transmitter, it hears it and it will register that… that shark swam through that place,” Hammerschlag said in statements collected by the New York Post. That’s how the researchers discovered that sharks “spent a lot of time near what we call urban areas.”

    Worse for the sharks than for us

    Faced with the concern that this discovery may generate for some bathers, the researcher points out that this approach of the sharks to the beaches “is probably worse for the sharks than for us.”

    “By spending so much time near the coast, sharks are at risk of exposure to toxic pollutants and fishing, which could affect their health and survival,” explains the scientist in the statement from the University of Miami.
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