Here’s what the experts are saying about recent shark attacks in Florida

Local charter boat captains are not surprised by the June 7 shark attacks in South Walton, considering them a tragic but expected outcome of nature and increased shark populations. Capt. Gary Jarvis, with over four decades of experience, notes that the Gulf of Mexico’s shark population has grown significantly due to harvest bans and conservation efforts. He believes this has led to a false perception that sharks are endangered.

Jarvis and other captains, including Capt. Judah Barbee and Capt. Neill Finkel, point out that more sharks and more people in the water increase the likelihood of shark bites. They observe a high number of sharks daily, especially bull sharks, known for their aggression. Barbee attributes some of the recent aggression to mating behaviors, which make sharks more violent and prone to biting.

The attacks, which injured a 45-year-old woman and two teenage girls, occurred amid heightened shark activity, driven by an abundance of bait fish near shore. Capt. Katie Anderson confirms the close proximity of bait has drawn sharks nearer to the beach. Despite these incidents, the captains emphasize that such events are part of a natural cycle, and the presence of sharks near shorelines has been a long-standing reality.

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