Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cocoa Beach Shark and Jellyfish Report For June 2017

COCOA BEACH, Florida - Large sharks have been spotted swimming in the Atlantic Ocean waters near Cocoa Beach, Florida during the last half of May 2017. 


SHARKS: Above Average Large Shark Activity 

An adult sea turtle that was bitten in half by one large shark bite washed ashore near Lori Wilson Park on June 13, 2017 which indicates the presence of large Tiger or Great White sharks just offshore of Cocoa Beach, Florida.

During Memorial Day weekend, a 12-foot Great White shark was seen swimming a few miles off-shore of nearby Port Canaveral, Florida.

On May 15, 2017, a 6-to-7 foot bull shark was spotted less than 20 feet from shore near Cherie Down Park in Cape Canaveral, Florida around noon. The shark was heading south towards Cocoa Beach, Florida, according to Alicia Murphy, who took the above photo of the shark as a wave crested.

As pictured above, bull sharks like to cruise the waters in late May and early June around the nearshore wave break off of Brevard County where tweens like to boogie board and wade.

So it is no surprise that the last severe bull shark attack happened to a 12-year-old boy in chest-deep water off of Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach in late May 2016.

In addition to the great white shark and tiger shark, bull sharks are considered one of the "big three" shark species by the International Shark Attack File that inflict serious injuries or death to humans.

Bull sharks are common along the east coast of Florida because 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.

A bull shark has a more thicker, muscular frame than spinner or blacktip sharks.


A 10-foot great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) was caught on May 15 off of Indialantic, Florida, about 26 miles south of Cocoa Beach. Great hammerheads feed on smaller blacktip sharks and can grow up to 20-feet in length and weigh over 1,000 pounds, but typically average around 11-feet long and weigh 500 pounds.


Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) should be cruising beyond the wave break due to sea turtle nesting activity. Sea turtles are among Tiger sharks' favorite foods. Tiger sharks often reach 11 feet in length and weigh around 1,000 pounds.

Spinner sharks (Carcharhinus brevipinna) 5 to 6-feet-long are present off of Cocoa Beach primarily beyond the wave break. Spinner sharks can grow up to 9 feet long and have a unique feeding technique of leaping into the air while spinning.

Blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) 2 to 5-feet-long are also present in the surf zone and shallow waters. Blacktip sharks, although less fatal, are the number one species responsible for biting humans along the U.S. East Coast.  The 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.


JELLYFISH: Barely Present

Recent winds have been blowing jellyfish and Portuguese Man-of-War away from the popular tourist beaches (technically, Portuguese Man-of-War aren't jellyfish but are instead a colony of small organisms called Siphonophorae).

The Portuguese Man-of-War can be identified from other jellyfish in Florida by its translucent blue and purple gas-filled air sac that helps them travel long distances across the ocean by acting as a wind-driven sail.

A violet-colored stinging tentacle cluster mass under the body can have tentacles that may extend up to ten or fifteen feet. These stinging, venom-filled tentacles are designed to paralyze small fish but can also deliver a powerful sting to humans who wade into the water or play on the beach.


BEACH CONDITIONS


Water: Clear

Seaweed: A small line of decomposed Sargassum seaweed is present along Brevard County beaches. But little fresh seaweed is in the water.

Winds: From the southeast at 3 mph.

Near-shore Current:  Slowly moving north.

Breaking Waves: 0-2 ft.  and glassy.

Rip Current Threat: Moderate.

UV Index: 9 (High)

Beach Temps:  Water: 77 F    Air: H 86 F   L 72 F

Cape Canaveral Buoy: 1.3 ft. swell every 8 seconds.

Tides:

Friday June 16
 L 7:26 a.m.  H 1:35 p.m.

Saturday June 17
 L 8:12 a.m.  H 2:29 p.m.

Sunday June 18
 L 9:02 a.m.  H 3:28 p.m.