Another week is underway and yet comes another sighting of a great white shark — this one off the Florida coast of all places.
A 12- to 14-footer was spotted by a group of divers off Fort Pierce in about 130 feet of water, according to a report in the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. Crew member Steve Maldonado managed to shoot some video of the big animal as it hung around their boat for nearly 20 minutes.
The encounter is an extreme rarity in the Sunshine State, yet it comes on the heels of a rash of white shark sightings across the country. Remember this one late last year off the North Carolina coast? More recently, there was this incident in California, where encounters with white sharks are much more common. And just last month, beaches were closed in Cape Cod when a couple of big specimens were spotted swimming near the shore.
But it’s not just in the U.S.
White sharks — more specifically, white shark attacks — have been a growing problem in Western Australia lately. In fact, the recent mauling of a surfer this month has local officials considering ending a ban on the killing of these sharks. Why? The victim was the fifth person in just 10 months to have been killed by a white shark.
Great whites have been protected in both Australia and the U.S. since the late 1990s — but the “Jaws” effect on folks cannot be overestimated. While there have been no recent fatalities in the U.S., if these incidents continue, one has to wonder whether similar cries will start ringing out among the U.S. beach-going population.
Let's hope that doesn't happen.