February 3, 2011

What Type of Sharks Frequent the North Carolina Shoreline?

Amy Kilgore, Public Relations Coordinaitor for the Fort Fisher Aquarium, recently answered that question in an article for Zoo & Aquarium Visitor.

" There are some 400 known shark species in the world, and 56 of those species are known to frequent North Carolina’s coastal waters. While the great white shark is probably the most publicized dangerous shark, it rarely comes close to our shore, preferring the edge of the Carolinian continental shelf.

From 1935 to 2009, statistics kept by the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida list 34 confirmed, unprovoked incidents of sharks biting people in North Carolina waters, three of which were fatal. Most shark bites are thought to be cases of mistaken identity – a shark looking for food and mistaking a person or a person’s appendage for a fish. The majority of these encounters are attributed to bull sharks. Other sharks that frequent North Carolina waters and may be prone to be involved in biting incidents are the tiger, mako, dusky, blue, blacktip, great white and hammerhead. Some sharks, including the bull, tiger, blacktip, dusky and hammerhead, can tolerate varying levels of salinity, which allow them to enter estuaries and rivers and increases their potential for encounters with humans.

Bull sharks occur from spring to fall in coastal, inshore, estuarine and often fresh water, before migrating southward. Sharks can frequently be seen just past the breakers near shrimp trawlers, feeding on fishes that escape the nets. Sharpnose sharks are the most abundant inshore shark, and juvenile black tip and spinner sharks are sometimes caught on hook and line by surf fishermen. Small hammerheads and their relatives often forage near fishing piers, feeding on migrating schools of fish..."

Read the full article here. You'll find it very informative.

NC Aquairum at Fort Fisher website
Photo Credit: Baby Bonehead Shark
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