Study: Concerns about sharks shouldn’t be limited to beaches

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Our beautiful beaches here in Eastern North Carolina bring people from around the world each year. The fear of sharks, always something of a concern, is now extending past those beaches.

A study released Monday said bull sharks are on the rise in the Pamlico Sound for two main reasons.

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“What we can draw is that there is a correlation between rising temperatures and rising salinity as well,” said Martin Benavides, PhD student with UNC-IMS.

So what does that mean for the commercial fishermen that populate the area? Are these sharks going to hurt that industry?

“Sharks will often consume fishes that we like to eat as well, so there may be some competition there,” Benavides said. “However, sharks are also very important in structuring fish communities by picking off some of the weaker fish.”



The question on most people’s minds … is it safe to get in the water? Benavides said absolutely.

“I want to point out that as a general rule of thumb that any time you enter the water, you are probably in the presence of sharks,” Benavides said. “They are actually one of the least dangerous things about entering the water. A lot of times people don’t know this but you are actually at a greater risk of drowning than you are of being attacked by a shark.”