North Carolina Shark Attacks May Be Tied To Fishing, Experts Say

Authorities are grappling with an unusual spate of shark attacks along the North Carolina coast, and some experts have begun to wonder whether the incidents could be connected to fishing in local waters.

At least six attacks have transpired in recent weeks along the North Carolina coast, a dramatic increase in shark activity that has largely caught beachgoers off guard. Earlier this month, a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy were attacked in separate incidents that took place just a mile apart, within two hours of each other. Such closely connected shark attacks are incredibly rare, as the Inquisitr previously reported.

This week, two attacks took place over the course of two days along the Outer Banks. The victim in the second attack, a 17-year-old boy, is considered to be in serious condition following his run-in with a shark, which represents an upgrade. He was considered to be in critical condition when he arrived at a hospital following the attack.

Now some experts assert that shark fishing might be tied to the increase in shark incidents reported over this month. As ABC News points out, shark fishing is allowed along the beaches and piers of North Carolina, even though many other locales along the East Coast have banned the practice. Shark fishing usually involves a fair amount of bait and chum meant to lure the predators, and according to some researchers, the attractants appear to be doing their job well.

“If we fed bears right in Yellowstone, people would be screaming,” said Marie Levine, executive director of the Shark Research Institute.

The idea that shark fishing could be to blame for recent incidents has met with some detractors, however. Louis Daniel, director of the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, noted that he doesn’t believe shark fishing is responsible. Rather, he asserts that shark populations have grown since commercial fishing for the species has been banned.

Growing human populations and an increased tendency for water-based recreation may also be to blame for shark incidents, as National Geographic points out. The animals are no strangers to the East Coast, and although weather conditions have allowed them to move into the region sooner than usual this year, the incidents may be simply due to an increased chance of interaction between swimmers and sharks.

While recent events have generated no shortage of headlines, beachgoers should still feel safe when entering the ocean. From 2005 to 2014, just 25 shark attacks took place in North Carolina, meaning the odds remain decidedly against most people ever experiencing such an event.

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