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An Oceanic White Tip Shark Was Spotted Off Jupiter's Coast, But Don't Freak Out

A rare shark sighting in Jupiter waters has people talking. 

WPEC directed our attention to a clip that shows an oceanic white tip circling a fishing boat off the coast of Jupiter. The video was posted to YouTube last week.

Interested in learning more about the creatures, we spoke more with Dr. Stephen Kajiura, a professor of marine biology at Florida Atlantic University. 

First of all, there’s no reason to panic. The sharks make their home miles off shore, so most people won’t ever have to come face-to-face with one, Kajiura said. They don’t travel together and are well-dispersed throughout the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. In fact, it’s rare to see even one.

Kajiura said that the only people who should be looking out for them are anglers and divers.

Since the usual white-tip shark habitat is deep blue water with no terrain, any unfamiliar shape in the water is interesting to the creatures, Kajiura said. Boats sailing by with fishing lines and divers in tow will easily spark their interest, so anyone thinking about jumping into the abyss should be careful.

“It’s certainly fine to jump in the water,” Kajiura said. “I would just look around first.”

If you do decide to take a dive, just keep the following in mind: Take off your jewelry, make sure you don’t have any open wounds and don’t jump into murky water. 

It’s not rare to see sharks here – Florida’s short continental shelf brings the deep water closer to land, and it doesn’t take too long to get into shark territory by boat — so why does it seem as though we’re spotting so many of these creatures lately?

Kajiura said it’s because of new technology. These days, anyone can have a GoPro or another type of waterproof camera and share their story with the whole world instead of just a group of friends.

“We never had these sorts of opportunities before,” he said.

See what other shark experts told WPEC about the rare sighting