For years we have often thought that there are sharks in our sounds throughout eastern North Carolina, and perhaps larger sharks in the Pamlico Sound. Of course there are sand sharks (otherwise known as dogfish) and other shark species, however there is now proof that there are more dangerous varieties of sharks roaming throughout the Pamlico Sound. Charles Bangley, a doctoral candidate at East Carolina University claims that a rising water temperature and thriving habitat maybe persuading bull shark mothers to give birth in the sound rather than Down south in Florida.
From the Virginian-Pilot:
Bangley used longline and gill nets to sample in the Pamlico Sound, where he found 36 juvenile bull sharks since 2012. That was a significant spike, he said. By comparison, a study from 1965 to 2011 turned up a total of 113 bull sharks.
“It’s possible the Pamlico Sound represents a new nursing area for bull sharks,” he said.
After reading his article and reviewing the research findings there is a scary trend that can’t be denied involving the vicious bull shark. Could this be a result of the placement of Mr. Bangley’s nets and long lines or is this trend becoming more of a reality that bull sharks are using the Pamlico sound as a breeding ground?
The number is real and shows a significant growing population of bull sharks in the North Carolina’s Pamlico sound and nothing that I have read or seen suggests otherwise. The bull shark average lifespan is about 16 years he grows up to 7 to 11 1/2 feet and as big as 500 pounds. They’re able to live in brackish waters which gives them the ability to go far up into tributaries and rivers without any trouble. The sharks are able to swim in relatively shallow warm waters and feast on anything that comes in their path – including other sharks.
Unfortunately for those who frequent the Pamlico sound and use it for more things than fishing, the bull shark is one of the most feared and aggressive sharks in the world. Along with the Great White shark and the Tiger shark, these three cousins are the world’s most dangerous and most likely to attack humans.
If that is not enough to make you rethink the Pamlico Sound, a White shark name Katharine was located coming through Oregon Inlet and swam up close to Swan Quarter through the Pamlico sound only to exit through the Hatteras Inlet. I’m fascinated by the movement and activity of these sharks and there is a really cool app by the name of Ocearch that tracks these movements and gives you data on sharks that they have tagged and are currently gathering research on throughout the world. This is the most recent great white shark that has gone inside the Outer Banks, but this is not the first time, and if I had to bet, It will not be the last.
I say all that to say this – be aware of your surroundings when in any body of water that is a potential nursing area or habitat for a shark or anything dangerous. I don’t write this to scare or take away from enjoying the waters that North Carolina has to offer, but be careful. After all you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being attacked by a shark so your odds are pretty good that it won’t happen. But don’t ever underestimate the potential dangers that come with enjoying the Pamlico sound or any body of water. Be safe and be smart when you’re out there.
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