NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Florida – Four people have been bitten by sharks in one week off New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Two surfers were separately bitten by sharks at the same beach within minutes of each other on Saturday, August 3, 2019.
A 20-year-old woman was bitten by a shark on her left hand and wrist while surfing near the inlet around 3:30 p.m., according to Volusia County Beach Safety.
While fire rescue crews were treating the first shark bite victim, a 21-year-old man walked up to seek treatment for a shark bite to his right foot that occurred minutes while he was surfing in the same area.
An 18-year-old man was bitten on his hand and wrist by a shark while surfing near the jetty around 1:30 p.m.
A 49-year-old man suffered a shark bite on Saturday, July 27, 2019 around 4:30 p.m. while boogie boarding off of New Smyrna Beach.
Shark Attacks Highest In East Central Florida
Volusia County (Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach area) has the highest number of shark attacks in Florida followed by neighboring Brevard County (Cocoa Beach area).
Historically, the two counties account for nearly half of all shark attacks in Florida each year.
Researchers say that the higher number of shark bites in Florida waters closest to Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando is attributable to high aquatic recreational use by both Florida residents and tourists, including large numbers of surfers, and to the rich nature of its marine fauna.
Florida Shark Attack Species
Although the species of sharks were not positively identified in any of the Florida shark bites, three shark species are responsible for the majority of attacks around the Sunshine State, according to the International Shark Attack File.
Blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) are the number one species responsible for biting humans along the U.S. East Coast. This shark has black tips on its pectoral fins and grows to no more than about six feet.
Blacktip sharks can swim in just inches of water where toddlers often play. Blacktip bites are mostly non-fatal.
Bull sharks (Carcharhinus brevipinna) are responsible for most of the fatal shark attacks in Florida. They are common along the east coast of Florida and juvenile bull sharks frequent the coast from Palm Beach, Florida to Daytona Beach, Florida.
That’s because of the Indian River Lagoon, which extends along Florida’s east coast from southern Volusia County to Palm Beach County, is an important nursery habitat for baby bull sharks.
When fully grown, bull sharks reach 7 to 11 feet in length and weigh between 200 and 300 pounds.
Spinner sharks (Carcharhinus brevipinna) can grow up to 9 feet long and have a unique feeding technique of leaping into the air while spinning.