With a surge in recent shark attacks on humans, scientists are increasingly concerned about the reasons behind such behavior. Some researchers have put forth a theory that “fish taking drugs and hallucinogenic pills” discarded into the water by smugglers may be the cause behind their aggressive behavior.
A documentary titled “Cocaine Sharks” by the Discovery Channel is currently examining whether predatory sharks in the ocean are feeding on drugs and floating pills disposed of by traffickers.
Environmental engineer Tracy Finara from Florida highlighted the connection between human waste, pharmaceuticals, cocaine, methamphetamine, and ketamine, which all end up in waterways and natural water bodies. She expressed concern about the potential effects on marine life that rely on these waters for survival.
The research, conducted for the “Cocaine Sharks” program, observed peculiar behavior among sharks in the Florida Keys, a delicate ecological chain of islands off the southern tip of the state. Observations included hammerhead sharks approaching divers directly and sand sharks swimming in circles, focusing on what appeared to be imaginary objects.
During experiments, various shark species were exposed to packages and balls containing a cocaine-like powder in the water, leading some sharks to approach and interact with them. The extent of cocaine consumption by sharks remains challenging to determine based on preliminary experiments.
Further research is planned by Finara and her team, including blood sampling from some sharks, to assess cocaine levels. The hope is to raise awareness about the threat posed to marine life and the fragile coastal ecosystem by water pollutants.
Afaf Al Fahchouch