Officials: Sharks feeding on fish carcasses

  ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) – Some disappointment this weekend for people at Alabama Point in Orange Beach.

The waters were closed because of shark sightings.

The double red flags were flying along parts of Orange Beach Monday morning, too.

Word of the sightings reached visitors, as well as locals, and many people were coming to Alabama Point hoping to see the sharks.

BLACK SHADOWS

If you looked carefully near Perdido Pass Sunday, you could see black shadows in the water and, every once in a while, a fin.

Those were sharks, and there were enough of them to prompt Orange Beach safety officials to put up double red flags in the area, meaning, don’t go in the water.

Aquatics & Beach Safety Director Melvin Shepard said, “What we’ve been seeing, aerial photographs of the area, on the east side of the Alabama Point jetties, (is) large numbers of sharks congregating along the jetty walls.”

WHY ARE THEY HERE?

Why are the sharks here now?

Shepard said fishermen discarding the remains of their catch during this red snapper season could be a factor.

He said, “The fish carcasses that are in the water, I think, are contributing to the fact that we’re seeing so many large numbers of sharks.”

ATTRACTING A CROWD

Word of the shark sightings spread quickly.

Locals and visitors have been coming to Alabama Point to look for sharks.

Marvin Smith of Baton Rouge said he was out Sunday.

Smith said, “I did not see any, myself.”

When asked if he was going back out Monday, he said, “Sure, I’ll go look about 5:00 or 6:00, after the boats have been out fishing and they cut all their carcasses and thrown them in the Gulf, and, that’s what brings the sharks.”

FACEBOOK POST

A man and wife from Georgia thought sharks might ruin their vacation at the beach.

Ronnie Pierce from Carrollton, Georgia, said, “When we were on our way down here this weekend, my wife was getting a Facebook post, and she said that one of her friends knew we were coming, and they were sending her some Facebook posts talking about sharks being down in Orange Beach.”

But, the Pierces said they haven’t seen any sharks.

Neither did a group from Texas and Georgia, celebrating wedding anniversaries.

Scott Marie from Atlanta, Georgia, said, “(I) heard about them this morning. I didn’t see anything, though.”

YELLOW FLAGS UP, TOO

Beach officials said they haven’t spotted any sharks west of Alabama Point, so they’ve put up yellow flags, meaning use caution because of moderate riptides.

Authorities said they’ll keep a close eye on the water.

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