There is something fishy going on in the waters off our nation’s coasts, but you probably don’t need to worry about it.
If you’ve been watching Shark Week presentations or paying attention to social media, you might have heard about “cocaine sharks,” man-eating fish hopped up on narcotics.
It’s well-known that packages of cocaine are sometimes found off the Florida coast and along its beaches — the Coast Guard found $186 million worth in the waters near Miami just last month — and some scientists say it’s likely sharks consume some of these drugs, the Palm Beach Post reported.
But that doesn’t mean you should flee the sea to escape a drug-fueled shark attack.
That’s because cocaine “affects fish really differently than it affects humans,” wildlife toxicologist and Florida International University biological scientist Laura Garcia Barcia said on Nat Geo’s “When Sharks Attack and Why.”
“That has to do with the fact that cocaine in the water is absorbed differently than cocaine that you would ingest like humans do,” she added.
Instead of making the sharks aggressive, Garcia Barcia noted, it actually makes them lethargic and affects their ability to hunt.
“A bale of cocaine appearing and washing up on shore every now and then is not enough for these animals to have high levels of cocaine in their body,” she added.
“The levels of cocaine in the water are way too low for cocaine to be an issue in sharks.”