Shark bites surfer off New Smyrna Beach

By ANDREW GANT, STAFF WRITER

March 24, 2012 2:40 PM
A shark nipped a surfer’s foot this afternoon in about 4 feet of water near the south jetty, marking the year’s third reported shark bite.

Joey Coppola, 21, had minor lacerations and declined medical treatment after the bite, which happened just after 2 p.m., Beach Patrol Capt. Tammy Marris said.

Marris said it wasn’t clear what type of shark bit Coppola.

The first two reported bites of the year happened earlier this month — also near the jetty in New Smyrna Beach, where two teen surfers were bitten within about 5 minutes of each other.

Each surfer described their shark as 4 to 5 feet long, but authorities said it’s unlikely they were bitten by the same one.

March is an active shark month off Volusia County beaches, as temperatures warm up and sharks begin migrating north up the east coast.

Six bites were reported here last year, down from a high of 24 in 2008. Most bites are minor and those bitten are usually surfers.

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