Dozens of sharks gathered Tuesday in warm waters of the Mediterranean near an Israeli power plant, drawing sightseers in what has become an annual occurence.
The sharks’ fins sliced through the swallow waters just meters (yards) away from bathers eager to take photos of them near the city of Hadera.
Sandbar and dusky sharks, which are known to frequent the waters, can grow up to three meters (10 feet) in length.
The sharks gather each year near where the power plant’s hot water outlet gushes into the Mediterranean Sea.
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority warned both amateur and professional divers against swimming with the creatures.
“The interaction with sharks is neither predictable or controllable, and in recent days there has also been a change in the sharks’ behavior,” the authority wrote.
The sharks are endangered and it is illegal to harm, feed or harass them, the authority added.
Most of those in the waters off Hadera on Tuesday were dusky sharks, though some were the slightly smaller sandbar sharks, said Aviad Scheinin, an expert on apex predators at the University of Haifa.
In the Mediterranean, the sandbars are endangered and there is not enough data on the dusky sharks to determine their status, he told AFP.
The mostly female dusky sharks come in late November and leave in early May, Scheinin said.
“We think it might be something to do with the reproductive cycle,” he said.
The mostly male sandbar sharks arrive in January, although this season researchers found one female among some 20 males, he said.
“We’re not sure why they are coming. It’s an open question,” he said of the sandbar sharks.