Videos showing ‘enormous shark’ near Tampa Bay area beaches a hoax, FWC says

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CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Fish and Wildlife officials say videos of several reported “shark sightings” on Pinellas County beaches are a hoax.

Several viewers sent videos to 8 On Your Side over the past few months showing what appeared to be a large shark fin popping out of the water near beaches in the Tampa Bay area. 8 On Your Side reached out to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to show them the videos. FWC says they reviewed the videos and determined it’s a hoax.

“That is a huge dorsal fin and in such shallow water, you would expect to be able to see a portion of the shark’s back and/or the second dorsal or tip of the caudal fin,” FWC Marine Fisheries Biologist Brent Winner explained. “None of those are visible.”

He also pointed out another part of the video that seemed suspicious.

“Even more suspect are the ‘bubbles’ that come up a few feet behind the fin,” Winner added. “These look like an exhale from a SCUBA diver in shallow water. Not a swirl or anything that was caused by a shark’s movement.”

The first reported sighting of the “shark” happened on Indian Rocks Beach back in July. Tyler Pennington tells News Channel 8 the “fin” appeared to be about two feet out of the water.

The second “sighting” happened on Clearwater Beach.

The third “sighting” was on Belleair Beach.

A fourth “sighting” happened at Redington Beach with photos courtesy of Michael Jones.

All four “sightings” showed a “fin” of similar size and stature.

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