Sharks Taking Over Biscayne Bay


James Burke

The hungry shark searching for prey around Biscayne Bay.

Sofia Bratt, Staff Writer

In the past years, the amount of sharks roaming the bottom of Biscayne Bay waters has gone unnoticed simply because of the lack of attacks. This past August, a 14-ft great white shark named Katharine was spotted cruising along the coast of Miami Beach, as well as in Elliot Key. Surprisingly, it is not uncommon to have great white sharks along the coast of Florida, due to the fact that they are migrating from the North Atlantic towards Florida’s warm waters. The restless shark Katharine has a tracker, which has helped researchers study her migratory patterns.

“I sail every weekend in Biscayne Bay and there has always been talk about the bull sharks swimming there. I think that they pose no threat to boaters and wouldn’t attack unless they feel that they are in danger,” junior Gracie Howie said.

Following great white and tiger sharks, the bull shark is one of the most vicious fish in the sea. The bull shark mainly searches for shallow waters, as well as fresh water inlets, to find its savory meals. This past May, just 100 yards off of Miami’s scenic shoreline, a bull shark was caught. These scheming sharks actually prefer to stay near Florida’s waters due to the fact it provides them with everything in order to survive. Various local divers have personally encountered several bull sharks as well as tiger sharks; they claim that these animals are usually quite polite, unless something occurs unexpectedly.

Last year, 6-yr-old Logan Hamby and the rest of his family from Dadeville, Alabama decided to take a relaxing vacation in Florida. Hamby was just playing in the water when his parents heard a loud scream; as they rushed to find out what was going on, they encountered a 4-ft-6-in shark that was ravenously attached to the little boy’s leg. Luckily a pair of Good Samaritans sprung into the water and helped the courageous young boy, thus saving his life.

“As a spear fisherman, I’ve had a lot of encounters with different types of sharks such as hammerheads, bull sharks and nurse sharks between the ocean side of Key Biscayne and Elliot Key. Most people would say that I’m insane for staying in the water and observing them, but in reality, they’re not there to hurt you,” senior Alex Van Puffelen said.

Just because we share these bright blue waters with sharks, it does not mean we cannot stop enjoying them. The Florida Wildlife Commission shares numerous ways to prevent any shark encounters while in the water: stay in a group, avoid swimming in the darkness or twilight, do not wear any glimmering jewelry because a shark will be attracted to its reflection, and make sure there is a lifeguard on duty in case of any emergencies. Let’s make the sharks our friends, not our enemies!