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Blacktip Sharks In Trouble Off Florida Due To Ocean Warming, Trump Isn’t Helping

Source: The Guardian/Oliver Milman - March 5, 2018 in Featured, Politics

Blacktip Sharks In Trouble Off Florida Due To Ocean Warming, Trump Isn’t Helping
Photo: Albert kok/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Blacktip sharks that journey down the Florida coast have declined in number so sharplythat researchers warn one of the largest migrations in US waters could grind to a halt because of the rapidly warming ocean.

A stretch of coastal south-eastern Florida is usually thick with as many as 15,000 blacktip sharks on any given day in February and March as the animals forge southwards from the Carolinas region in search of agreeably warm waters in winter.

However, aerial surveys of the migration last year found this number had slumped by around two-thirds, to 4,000 sharks. Researchers are still collating the 2018 tally but warn it is likely to match or even fall below last year’s level.

“Last year we had very warm waters and very few sharks, and 2018 so far has been exceptionally warm,” said Dr Stephen Kajiura, a shark researcher at Florida Atlantic University. “We just aren’t seeing the numbers; there are remarkably few sharks. It really indicates that their migration is tied closely to temperature and if this trend continues we may not see sharks here any more.”

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