Shark attacks are terrorizing the Carolinas. Events of this kind are extremely rare. According to the International Shark Attack File, in recent days, there have been 10 attacks near the North and South Carolina coastlines. The average number reported per year by these two states is six. The 11 attacks in Florida, where there has been little attention, is a more common location. It is estimated that ten is the average number of attacks and deaths per year caused by sharks.
Since sharks attacking people is extremely rare in this location, there are several factors to consider when determining why they are occurring. Human activity, environment, and biological variables may all have a role. At the Florida Museum of Natural History, the director of the Florida Program for Shark Research has theorized that possible drought conditions and warmer water have had an impact.
When there are drought conditions, lesser amounts of fresh water will make it to the sea. The results mean a higher level of salt water along the coastline, which could attract not only sharks, but other fish. The warm water may be the cause for the predators in North Carolina to move ahead of schedule. Additionally, the director reported a higher number of beach attendees this year.
Two surfers have lost their lives so far this year. The attacks on the teenage girls in North Carolina occurred within 90 minutes of each other. Researchers are puzzled because the number of sharks is declining, yet attacks are maintaining their level or increasing, depending on the location.
The chief shark investigator for Mexico’s National Fishing Institute and his colleagues are looking at the possibility of certain species developing a taste for humans. It was explained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that it is not normal for them to hunt for humans, but they will attack humans, mistaking them for a thick-tissued and fatty sea lion or seal.
Another existing problem to address lies within the lakes, rivers, and estuaries, which are bodies of water that form where fresh water from rivers and streams flows into the ocean. People who enjoy swimming, fishing, or boating in these areas may share this water space and come face to face with one of these dangerous species.
The director of the International Shark Attack File has identified some basic types of attacks on humans. One form of attack is to provoke the fish, which is the most common. This occurs by humans touching or disturbing it. Additionally, divers have been known to try to grab one of the oceanic predators.
Unprovoked attacks can also happen. This may occur when this animal perceives a threat and, therefore, becomes aggressive. Another type of attack is called a hit-and-run, because the animal may grab, release, and leave. Two other types identified include a diver who may be caught by surprise or who receives a head butt before a bite.
The NOAA has offered these suggestions:
1. Be careful swimming in places like sandbars, estuaries, or step drops where sharks tend to visit frequently,
2. Avoid being in the water in the early morning or late afternoon hours, because this is usually their feeding time,
3. Stay in a group while performing water activities, due to the fact that this fish most often attacks individuals,
4. Do not go into the water with any kind of cut, as their keen sense of blood will draw them to the source of the bleeding,
5. Refrain from wearing shiny jewelry in the water, which may appear as fish-scale skin, and
6. Control excessive splashing to avoid the perception of movements of a hurt or disoriented fish upon which the shark may usually prey.
By Marie A. Wakefield
Edited by Jennifer Pfalz
CNN – What’s Behind Increase in Shark Attacks Off the Carolinas?
USA Today – Another Shark Attack Reported in North Carolina
www.discovery.com – Why Do Sharks Attack?
Photo by Travelbag Ltd Flickr Page – Creative Common License
Photo by Paul D’Ambra’s Flickr Page – Creative Common License
Photo by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Flickr Page – Creative Common License