"There have been a significant amount of shark sightings prompting us to close the water in these areas. It is unlawful to enter the water when double red flags are flying," read the Orange Beach Fire Department's Facebook page.
Another helicopter flight on Monday, June 9th, 2014, spied “seven or eight” sharks in the area, and effectively lifted the ban and decided to reopen the waters by midday in a Facebook post by the Orange Beach Fire Department.
Wait a minute.
“Unusual number of sharks”?
Who says this is anything unusual?
Are these sharks crawling out of the ocean and onto the beach, making their way to land? THAT would be unusual. Sign me up for the next plane up to Alabama, I want to check this out.
We know sharks “crawl,” but if they’re staying in their own ecosystem, I don’t think you can call their presence unusual.
If anything is “unusual,” it’s us humans congregating by the millions to beaches each year, but you don’t see the animals calling us weirdos (at least not to our faces).
Also, migrations are a normal part of wildlife. Mammals, birds, insects, and fish migrate all the time, yet nobody throws a hissy fit about it. Shark expert Erich Ritter says there is nothing unusual about the sharks congregating in Orange Beach.
"These aggregations happen periodically among many species," he said. "It is mostly because of feeding or mating. So nothing to worry about."
Like most pelagic fish anywhere in the world, sharks migrate with baitfish schools—following the noms, man. Sometimes these fish just happen to go near shore and everyone freaks out. Sharks are fish, too, people. At least, last time I checked, they were still fish. So why are their migrations seen as such hazards?
Credit: Joshua Singer
These are 100% natural migrations.
Like any animal, they follow food- be it baitschools or fisherman’s waste products that attract these creatures. Sometimes they just like to catch some sunny UV rays and hang around for a while-- just look at the two GWS in the Gulf of Mexico right now, pinging in via OCEARCH.
It is wise to exercise caution, but do not be alarmed by silly fright-techniques. Instead, look at these factual headlines from David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter). They’re better than anything the press can release when it comes to anything regarding sharks.
If you are fishing while in the water, don’t be reckless and attach your catch to your waist because you’re too lazy to walk back to shore and put your prize(s) in a cooler. You’re just attracting trouble. So do yourself, and sharks, a favor and don’t do the thing.
Sharks are always out there. They just usually don't bother anyone.