Sharks in Florida

The waterways and beaches of Florida are home to a diverse shark population measuring as less as 2 feet to as much as 35 feet. The lemon shark is the most common that can be sighted all year round. Most other species are usually seen in Florida from June to August.

Sea-goers are generally warned to be aware of sharks over 6 feet as even a single bite could lead to severe injuries. The International Shark Attack File kept by Florida Museum has so far recorded 896 unprovoked attacks over a period of 180 years.

List of Different Types of Sharks of Florida

Common Sharks

Species Maximum Size Aggressiveness
Lemon Shark 9-10 feet Not aggressive
Tiger Shark 10-14 feet Highly aggressive
Great Hammerhead Shark 12-18 feet Highly aggressive
Bull Shark 7-12 feet Highly aggressive
Caribbean Reef Shark 8-9 feet Not aggressive
Nurse Shark 7-8 feet Not aggressive
Sandbar Shark 7-8 feet Not aggressive
Silky Shark 7-10 feet Highly aggressive
Spinner Shark 7 -8 feet Not aggressive
Dusky Shark 9 -12 feet Not aggressive (until provoked)
Blacknose Shark 3-5 feet Not aggressive
Atlantic Sharpnose Shark 2-4 feet Moderately aggressive
Blacktip Shark 5-8 feet Moderately aggressive
Atlantic Shortfin Mako Shark 7-13 feet Highly aggressive

Rare Sharks

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark 9-12 feet Moderately aggressive
Smooth Hammerhead Shark 8-12 feet Not aggressive (but are potentially dangerous)
Whale Shark 18-32 feet Not aggressive
Blacktip Shark 4- 6.5 feet Not aggressive
Bonnethead Shark 3-4 ft Not aggressive
Smalltooth Sawfish 15-17 feet Not aggressive

FAQs

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Great white sharks aren’t native to Florida. However, in June 2022, two Great whites, Breton and Scot were sighted along the south Florida coast.

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Florida is famous for the numerous shark tours conducted by several dive charters. The Calypso Dive Charter offers visitors a splendid experience in the waters with various species like the lemon shark, tiger shark, and sandbar shark. The novice can take the snorkeling trips under the guidance of a trained divemaster. The experienced could avail of the scuba charters and go cage diving down the waters to directly interact with the sharks and take unique photographs of them.

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The shark season in Florida is from April to October, coinciding with the swim season there.

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In spring and summer, the sharks migrate north close to the shores. During fall and winter, they drift away from the shores towards the south. The black fin shark spotted in the estuaries, bays, and coastal waters of Florida has a different migration pattern. They are seen in the waters of south Florida in mid-January and stay there till March. During migration, the black fins travel in large schools.

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Yes, anglers aged 16 and above require a permit for shore-based shark fishing. Though those above 65 years of age might get an exemption on the fishing license, but would have to acquire a license for fishing sharks.

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