Celebrating Shark Week in the Cape Fear

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It is Shark Week! And while you may be tuning in for all of the excitement, how much do you know about sharks in our area?

There are currently multiple research projects happening to learn about sharks in the Cape Fear.

Charles Bangley, postdoctoral fellow with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, says sharks are not just in our oceans.

“Sharks and rays often use estuaries like the Cape Fear River for nursery habitats, sometimes larger ones will come in to occasionally feed,” said Bangley.

Bangley says most of the sharks in the river are juvenile versions of the larger species people are more familiar with.

“They can actually be important habitats for these species, in addition, sharks require a whole ecosystem to support them, so sharks can be indicators of water quality, basically how healthy the whole environment is,” said Bangley.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is also conducting some research projects on sharks.

Madeline Marens, an aquarist at Fort Fisher, is studying sharks off of our coast.

“We are tagging mature female sand tiger sharks off of our coast, and studying how they use the habitat here,” said Marens.

Marens says the Cape Fear area could be extremely important to these sharks.

“We’re interested to find out how they’re using the habitat here as it may be a potential breeding ground,” she said.

The aquarium is also studying sharks in their own tanks.

“This project is a behavioral study for our sand tiger sharks in our Cape Fear shoals habitat, and we’re monitoring how they use the area, where they move, and how they swim,” said data technician Amber Wright.

Aquarium staff says sharks are in danger of over-fishing, habitat disruption, and more.

If you’d like to learn more about sharks in our area, check out the aquarium at Fort Fisher.

Categories: Local, New Hanover