A fisherman bitten in the leg by a shark in the channel off Anna Maria Island’s Bean Point Oct. 2 was standing in waist-deep water when he dumped his bait into the water.
Javier Perez, 38, of Kenneth City, was visiting the area with his family and had been fishing from the beach before he suffered a minor shark bite. He was treated and released at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.
The catalyst for the bite could have been the bait thrown in the water, according to Dr. Robert Hueter, director of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research.
“Sharks naturally seek out fish for food, so any fish or fish parts you bring into the ocean may attract sharks,” he said. “Anglers should not stand in the water with their catch or bait. Shark bites are rare, and we can help keep it that way by playing it safe.”
Debbie Meihls of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau said the BACVB is glad Perez is OK and only suffered a minor injury.
While many people enjoy beach and wade fishing along Anna Maria Island shores, “encounters such as this are extremely rare, especially near shore,” Meihls said.
A BACVB press release encouraged people fishing in Gulf waters to “take necessary precautions.”