shark

Wikimedia Commons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rip_current

Shark bites have been dominating the headlines in coastal North Carolina for weeks. But sharks aren’t the most dangerous risk swimmers face in the ocean.  

So far this summer, North Carolina has experienced a record-breaking number of shark attacks: 8, to be precise – with the most recent bite occurring over the holiday weekend. But Scott Baker, a fisheries specialist with the North Carolina Sea Grant Extension program, says that these shark bites are overshadowing the ocean’s real danger:

Richard Ling, Wikimedia Commons

In the past week, there have been three shark attacks in Brunswick County – two of them causing serious injuries. A local fisheries expert has a theory about why these attacks keep occurring south of the Cape Fear River’s mouth. 

Dr. Frederick Scharf is a professor of Marine Biology at UNCW. He says the area of these recent attacks is rich in food sources for sharks. That’s because the outflow from the Cape Fear River tends to bend south—right along the Oak Island beaches. That stream of water releases nutrients and suspended solids—fish food, essentially—into the coastal ocean.

Shark Bites: It's a Case of Mistaken Identity

Aug 7, 2014
Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_white_shark#mediaviewer/File:White_shark.jpg)

A great white shark named Katharine has been visiting the Wilmington region for the past week. WHQR dives into the behaviors and risks of sharks in the area. 

The chance of a shark biting a human is one in twelve million, and only two percent of those bites are fatal. This is according to Dr. Lankford, an Associate Professor of Biology and Marine Biology at UNCW. He prefers the term “shark bite” to “shark attack,” as most sharks retreat after mistaking a human for prey: