A recent outbreak of shark attacks has gripped some regions of the East Coast with fear heading into the Fourth of July weekend, and experts assert that while the phenomenon is likely to be temporary, something “strange” is most certainly going on.
The attacks began last month along the coast of North Carolina and continued unabated into the beginning of this month. Seven people have been injured by sharks in that state alone, which typically only sees one or two attacks in a whole summer, as the Inquisitr previously reported. Other attacks, of varying severity, have been reported in Florida and South Carolina.
— ABC News (@ABC) July 3, 2015
The shark incidents reported from North Carolina are unusual in many ways. Experts point out that attacks rarely happen in concentrated areas, but that situation has presented itself twice over the past month in that state. Two swimmers were attacked at Oak Island within 90 minutes of each other, and three shark encounters were reported in just a week along the Outer Banks.
— CNN (@CNN) July 1, 2015
Researchers have posited a variety of theories to explain the attacks, as CBS News points out. These range from the involvement of bait fishing to sea turtle migrations or global warming. As Dr. Samuel Gruber of the Bimini SharkLab research facility in the Bahamas points out, the recent uptick in attacks means that something strange is happening along the North Carolina coast.
“The trend is normally zero or one attack in that area in any one year,” he observed.
A great shark photographed close at surface! Amazing! pic.twitter.com/Mw8t2Dx56V
— Animal Planet (@MeetAnimals) June 24, 2015
Other researchers assert that it may be difficult to even say that the uptick in shark attacks means that a significant event is transpiring. Dr. John Carlson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Lab noted that long-term trend data needs to be analyzed before conclusions are drawn, as the Guardian reports.
“It could just be the summer weather. Maybe twice as many tourists are going to the beach in North Carolina.”
The National Park Service has issued a shark warning, telling swimmers to stay in groups and near shore. While beachgoers are no doubt concerned over the possibility of a shark encounter this holiday weekend, they have little reason to fear. According to Florida Museum of Natural Science, the chance of experiencing a shark attack stands at one in 11.5 million, even in the face of recent events in North Carolina.
[Image via Shutterstock]