shark attack

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This summer, shark bites brought national attention to North Carolina beaches. Two young people lost parts of their arms to sharks while swimming near Oak Island. During this week’s CoastLine Candidate Forum, all Oak Island Mayoral candidates agreed that more needs to be done to lower the risk of shark attacks. 

All four mayoral candidates say this summer’s shark bites were a wakeup call for Oak Island. Cin Brochure, the current Tourism Director for the City of Southport, says the issue has been on her mind since she lives near one of the sites: 

By Brian Gratwicke, via Wikimedia Commons

The North Carolina coast has seen eight shark attacks so far this season.  Summer is not half over.  It’s a record-setting number.  And a chilling one for most people. 

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Eight shark attacks off the North Carolina coast this season have prompted Governor Pat McCrory to ask the Department of Public Safety to look for patterns.

Wikimedia Commons:

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:

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A man is in the hospital after yet another shark attack off the North Carolina coast just after noon on Wednesday.  The victim sustained multiple injuries.

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.

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A third shark attack in less than a week has shaken the small beach communities along the Brunswick County Coast. 

Shark Bites: It's a Case of Mistaken Identity

Aug 7, 2014
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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: