East Coast shark populations are the highest in decades, federal researchers announced this week. Also, a record number of sharks attacks were registered in North Carolina beaches this summer.
The National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration along with other scientists captured and tagged no less than 2,800 sharks in the water stretch from Florida to North Carolina in 2015. To put things in perspective, NOAA have only found 1,830 sharks in 2012, which was the last year when the survey was completed.
Each shark that was caught was studied. The survey recorded their size, sex, age and location for 29 years and it still is ongoing. The survey has been conducted every two to three years in these last three decades, covering routes along the East Coast because it’s a migration area where species come as waters become warmer. It is much easier to keep track of the fish population here than in other regions.
Leader of the East Coast shark survey, Lisa Natanson, made a statement in which she explained that the increasing number of sharks is linked with the federal regulations enacted back in 1993, which prohibited commercial shark fishing. Also a researcher at the Narragansett Laboratory of NOAA, Natanson said that a lot of the fishing pressure was no longer applied to these species, which gave them a chance to come back to their natural habitat.
Among the 13 species that were caught this year by the NOAA, Atlantic sharpnose, sandbar, tiger, and dusky sharks were the most common. The fishing vessel Eagle Eye was visited by nearly 3,000 sharks this summer. The charter set sail from South Carolina and Florida, from April to May.
Lisa Natanson claims that researchers saw a slight increase in the shark populations of Florida’s waters. The fisherman used a line with baits hooks to catch as many sharks as possible. Natanson said that usually they just found groups here and there, but this year they caught a lot.
In June and July this year, eight people were attacked by sharks, which is the record for most in a year ever since shark attack incidents started to be tracked 80 years ago. The old record is of five attacks in 2010, in North Carolina.
Natanson made a statement in which she said the increased shark population is not an issue, and beachgoers should stay calm, as the number of attacks will not be on the rise. However, in these waters there will always going to be a risk.
Photo Credits pixabay