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Shark Researcher Captures Underwater Video Of Migrating Sharks In Palm Beach Waters

You know those migrating sharks swimming in Palm Beach waters that people are freaking out about (but shouldn't be)? 

We recently showed you what the school of thousands of blacktips looks like from up above, but now you can take a good look at the view below the surface, too.

FAU researcher Stephen Kajiura captured crystal clear video of the sharks Saturday, Feb. 13, by dropping a GoPro camera affixed to a concrete block under water off the coast of North Palm Beach. 

The device, or "block-cam," was placed in shallow water less than 2 meters in depth, near the shoreline south of John D. MacArthur State Park.

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Sharks filmed on block-cam

Block-cam footage obtained by affixing a camera to a concrete block and placing it in the shallow water (<2m depth) near shore. The camera recorded several sharks swimming by in the span of about 12 minutes.

Posted by FAU Shark Migration on Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Kajiura notes the video, which he posted on the FAU Shark Migration Facebook page, shows the sharks simply swimming by in a school, not acting aggressively or biting, the way they are often portrayed in the media. 

"This is important to reduce the perceived threat by sharks," he said. "Hopefully the public view the footage and realize that sharks are interesting and not out to get them."

Kajiura added that the footage serves as a reminder that we do have plenty of sharks swimming near popular beaches, but there have been relatively few bites each season by comparison. 

Since first spotting the large school of blacktip sharks three weeks ago, Kajiura said he has noticed most of the sharks off Palm Beach, with only scattered individuals off Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Though he can't be sure, he guesses this could be because sharks migrating from the Carolinas and Georgia stop swimming south once they reach their preferred habitat.

"Why bother going any farther than you have to?" he said. "If Palm Beach has the warm water and prey, there is no motivation to keep migrating to Miami." 

Kajiura and his team also keep track of the sharks' migration patterns by tagging them with instruments. So far, he's found that many of the sharks in Palm Beach waters this season are the same ones they've tagged previously.

"That provides evidence that they are completing a full migration up north and back," he said. "It is so exciting to detect these instrumented sharks returning back here again."