Alabama Beaches Reopen After Huge Shark Swarm
Ellisha Rader Mannering
A large swarm of sharks caused several Alabama beaches to close on Monday. Hundreds of sharks were seen in aerial video footage in shallow water near the beaches.
Orange Beach safety supervisor Melvin Shepard said that the reason there were so many sharks in the area is because of the many fish carcasses that are decomposing in the water. It is currently red snapper season and fishing often leads to many fish carcasses being left in beach areas and shallow water.
“We think a lot has to do with snapper fishing,” Shepard said. “A lot of people are cleaning their fish and tossing them into the water (at the pass). We’re hoping with snapper season ending today, people will stop dumping their carcasses and the sharks will disperse.”
Lifeguards and officials put up double red flags along the beaches to warn swimmers and beach goers that swimming was prohibited and that there were sharks in the water.
Videos and photos of the beaches show the swarm of sharks, many of them with their dorsal fins sticking out of the water.
Most of the sharks were between 3-4 feet long, but some were larger, measuring nearly 6 to 7 feet long.
Officials were not able to identify all of the sharks, but were able to determine that some of them were bull sharks.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 10, 2014
Bull sharks are one of the most aggressive shark species and one of the top ten deadliest sharks in the world. They are responsible for most shark attacks that are reported on or near beaches.
By Tuesday afternoon almost all of the sharks had cleared out of the shallow water and only a few lingered there. The flags were taken down and beach goers were told that it was once again safe to enter the water.
Many were still nervous and lifeguards watched carefully from their posts for any signs of sharks.
There were no shark attacks reported on the Alabama beaches.
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Image via YouTube