Florida county reaches 9 shark bites this year

Florida

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) – Two shark bites in Volusia County this week involving a surfer and a swimmer bring the total number of bites to nine so far in the “Shark Bite Capital of the World” this year.

None of the shark bites this year, including the two this week, have been life-threatening. Most were minor lacerations where the victims were not taken to the hospital.

Commercial Fisherman Jeremy Goodrich captains the Rosemarie. He and his crew just hooked 33 blacktip or spinner sharks for sale to seafood stores. It was a pretty easy haul because the sharks are chasing after baitfish.

“It’s just a lot of bait, different types of fish moving through — water temperatures changing,” Goodrich said.

As deeper water cools, bait fish are thriving in the shallow water just off shore where it’s still 85 degrees, where people swim and surf.

Damien Lawler, who runs The Lucky Strike fishing boat says sharks, hunting baitfish, sometimes chomp down on hands or feet.

“Mistaken identity, really. Wrong place, wrong time, but the mullet right now, they’re running right down the beach and that’s where the sharks are going to be at,” Lawler said.

More often than not, it’s surfers that get bit. Austin Rooke is a regular near the jetty in Ponce Inlet and sees them all the time. He said the reward is worth the risk.

Though nine shark bites so far may seem high, in 2001, 22 people were bitten in the ocean off the Volusia County coast.

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