With the recent shark attacks along the beaches of Florida, beachgoers in Alabama are concerned about the safety of Alabama’s waters. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Marine Resources Division has been monitoring the waters, and so far has not seen many sharks in the area.
The Department has been making random plane flights along the beaches about once a week. “So far we’ve been seeing normal background levels of five or six sharks along the Alabama coastline,” said Steve Heath, Chief Marine Biologist with the Department. Last August, the number got as high as 140. “If we see a substantial increase, we will increase our flights to daily,” he said.
Heath said swimmers shouldn’t be afraid to get in the waters, but there are some basic precautions that should be taken:
· Don’t get too far from the shore.
· Don’t venture off by yourself. Always try to stay with groups of swimmers.
· Sharks feed more during dusk to dawn, so avoid swimming at those times.
· Don’t wear shiny jewelry because movement causes it to flash thus making sharks think bait fish are near.
Heath said shark attacks are very rare. There have only been four in Alabama in the last 25 years and none was fatal.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.