Shark Attack Surge in North Carolina: What Could Be Behind It
Experts see several possible factors that may be contributing to the problems.
— -- As beach season hits high gear this holiday weekend, some people in North Carolina are calling for beach closures amid a surge in shark attacks over the past month.
There have been 11 shark attacks off the shores of the Carolinas this year, most in just the last three weeks.
On Wednesday, a 68-year-old man was bitten by a shark off the coast of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. The victim, identified by the hospital as Andrew Costello, was bitten on his left side in his lower leg and hip and on both his hands, Hyde County EMS Director Justin Gibbs told ABC News.
Experts say the increase in attacks this year could be based on four factors: First, due to drought conditions limiting fresh water along the coast, the ocean water is saltier, which sharks like. Throw in warmer water than usual, add in a surge of fish for food and factor in more people than usual at the beach and it's a recipe for disaster.
“They do like the clear ocean water,” said Capt. Steve Wilson of Dream Girl Sport Fishing, “but you also have a booming sea turtle population and they love sea turtles.”
Though some are calling for beach closures, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is offering a warning instead.
“Recognize that there are certain areas where we are having these bites,” he said. “So use your common sense -- especially if you are in and around a fishing area.”
Shark encounters haven’t just been limited to the Carolina coast.
An aggressive shark capsized a man's kayak in Florida in a terrifying moment caught on video last Thursday.
Ben Chancey, a U.S. Coast Guard captain for fishing charters, was off the coast of Stuart, Florida, trying to catch a goliath grouper when several bull sharks started swimming around his kayak, he said.