Cocaine thrown into the ocean drives sharks crazy. “Swimming in circles while focusing on an imaginary object”

The Observer reports that erratic behavior observed in some sharks off the coast of Florida may be the result of ingesting cocaine packets thrown overboard by second-hand smugglers.

It could be the script for the next ocean-based apocalypse movie: Scientists believe hungry sharks may be feasting on drug packages washed up on Florida beaches.

Discovery has produced a documentary that investigates whether marine predators use drugs floating in the ocean. The oceanographers who created the show say the documentary’s purpose goes beyond entertainment.

“Sharks on Cocaine is a fascinating topic that shines a light on a real problem, which is that everything we use, everything we produce, everything we put in our bodies ends up in our wastewater streams and natural waterways, and these aquatic organisms that we rely on for survival are exposed to it,” said Dr.

“I’ve seen fish drugged with narcotics, cocaine, methamphetamines, ketamines, all of these things. If these packets of cocaine are a point of contamination, it’s very plausible that sharks are affected by this chemical. Cocaine is so soluble that any of these packages are slightly opened, the structural integrity is destroyed, and the drug dissolves in the water,” explained the researcher.

Fanara and British marine biologist Tom Hirt, Fanara and British marine biologist Tom Hirt observed sharks exhibiting strange behaviours. A hammerhead shark, a species that normally swims away from people, came straight at the divers, moving erratically.

They also observed a sandbar shark swim in circles while focusing on an imaginary object.

The researchers also conducted experiments that included throwing fake bales of shark bites into the water and loading bait balls with highly concentrated fish powder to simulate cocaine. The effect is similar to baiting on cats, the researchers said. “It’s the best thing they can find and it sets their brains on fire. It’s crazy,” says Hirt.

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Fanara explained that they chose the Florida Keys because the convergence of ocean currents makes the area “prime” for floating bales of cocaine. Florida serves as a stopover for large quantities of drugs from South America into the United States, and plastic packages of cocaine are often lost at sea or thrown overboard by smugglers pursued by law enforcement. Last month, the US Coast Guard announced that it had seized $186 million worth of illegal drugs off the coast of the Caribbean and South Florida. But such catches have little impact on a record-breaking industry. “When we were filming in the Keys, bales of cocaine washed ashore twice in one week, so it was a very widespread problem,” Fanara said. How much cocaine the sharks ingested could not be determined based on preliminary tests, he said. In the coming months, Fanara plans to work with other marine researchers in Florida to take blood samples from some of the sharks to assess cocaine levels.

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