Experts are pointing to shark fishing as a possible reason for the dramatic surge in attacks off the coast of North Carolina.
The fishing is permitted on North Carolina beaches and piers, though it has been banned at several other popular beach destinations along the East Coast.
Experts have theorized that all that bait and chum is attracting fish — and sharks. Several of the recent attacks, including Friday’s attack on a 47-year-old father as he scrambled to get children out of the water, and two attacks on June 14 have occurred in close proximity to fishing piers.
“If we fed bears right in Yellowstone, people would be screaming,” Marie Levine, executive director of the Shark Research Institute, told ABC News.
Now, there are calls in parts of North Carolina for the practice to be banned, at least temporarily during times of high beach traffic such as July Fourth weekend.
Levine and other experts note the possibility of shark attacks increases during the summer, not because there are more sharks, but because there are more people in the water.
However, the director of the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, Louis Daniel, said he doesn’t think fishing is to blame. He disputed the critics’ claims, and believes the shark population has increased since commercial shark fishing was outlawed.
He has heard the recent calls to ban some fishing on North Carolina beaches but so far, has no plans to take action.
His advice? Use common sense. Don’t swim near people fishing.
On that point, the shark experts agree.