That Didn’t Take Long: North & South Carolina Shark Attacks Blamed on Global Warming

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

There has been a series of shark attacks off the Carolina coasts. As of last count, the number is 11 shark bites since mid-May.

As one might have expected, from mainstream media’s let’s-see-what-we-can-blame-on-global-warming department comes the CBSNews article “Strange” spike in shark attacks puzzles experts. The news report includes (my boldface):

The recent spate of shark attacks has left many beachgoers nervous.

Dr. Samuel Gruber, the director of the Bimini SharkLab research facility in the Bahamas, says the spike in attacks suggests something strange is going on.

“The trend is normally zero or one attack in that area in any one year,” said Gruber.

Theories as to why this is happening range from time of day, to bait fishing, sea turtle migration, lunar cycles and global warming.

Whose theories? The author doesn’t say.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s another factor at work. Let’s call it the dufus factor, which states anyone who goes swimming in North and South Carolina waters, where there have recently been shark attacks, is very likely a dufus…plain and simple, a dufus.

WHAT ABOUT THE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES THERE?

Using the coordinates of 32N-37N, 82W-75W for the North and South Carolina coastal waters, according to NOAA’s new ERSST.v4 sea surface temperature dataset, the May 2015 sea surface temperature anomaly was +1.36 deg C referenced to 1981-2010. See Figure 1. But that’s not unusual there. Sea surface temperature anomalies have been higher in the past…especially in the 1930s and 40s. Note also how low the warming rate there has been since the start of the dataset in 1854.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Clearly, the sea surface temperatures off the Carolina coasts have cooled since the 1930s and 40s, so let’s see how far back in time we can go, in 5-year increments, until the data show no warming for that region. The results are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Based on the linear trend, NOAA’s new ERSST.v4 data show the surfaces of the waters off the coasts of North and South Carolina have not warmed in more than a century.

Once again, mainstream media has failed to do its homework.

SOURCE

NOAA’s ERSST.v4 data are available at the KNMI Climate Explorer

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143 thoughts on “That Didn’t Take Long: North & South Carolina Shark Attacks Blamed on Global Warming

  1. CAGW is a phenomenon of inappropriate fear and misplaced guilt. AGW is and will forever after be understood as beneficial. And the greening? Oh, my Gaia, who’d a thunk it?
    ===========

    • Speaking of “Grubers”, I love how smug leftys mocks climate skeptics in a way that shows their superior intellect. Yet Jonathan Gruber basically admitted that the DNC elite thinks their base is stupid… And not to mention at least one peer reviewed science study that suggested that skeptics tend to be more informative on this issue.
      What a crazy time we are experiencing.

  2. Bob, I think the sharks escaped from somewhere else where it became too hot for them, it must be global warming.!!! hahhahahah

  3. Thanks Bob.
    It may be that the holiday periods are celibrated by larger and larger numbers who find N. Carolina attractive to swim.

  4. The “dufus factor”. I like it.
    Examples of the dufus factor:
    1. County building beach facilities next to the fishing pier at a place called Sharkey’s (Venice FL)
    2. People swimming at the beach next to the fishing pier at a place called Sharkey’s. (Venice FL)

    • …yet Venice (and Sarasota Co as a whole) never seem to have people bitten by sharks. Not only do you have the fishing from the pier there, but you have the dog beach just south of that, and their swimming motion is supposed to attract sharks.

      • Yes, however, after living here for 24 years and spending much time in the Gulf the only shark I have ever seen while swimming was near Sharkey’s. I immediately recognized the dufus factor in me for entering the water there and never will again. Keep in mind that, what at one time was a world, record lemon shark was caught a couple of hundred yards off the pier as was a very large bull shark. Luckily there is not a lot of bait fish in the area and no outlets/inlets nearby.

    • Tom, I believe there is a correlation between the bait bucket margaritas from Sharkey’s, the county planners who frequent there, and the results.

    • I saw a shark at Siesta Key. It was a small shark, but a shark nonetheless.
      A friend of mine was a lifeguard at Lido Beach and she said she has seen many sharks there. But the most scared she ever was was when she wasn’t lifeguarding, but was floating on a raft, when this lady started yelling at her to get out of the water, at first she thought “quite lady, I’m trying to sleep here.” After a while she realized that the lady was yelling “shark” still she didn’t panic because a lot of tourists think dolphins are sharks, but she looked around and saw a bull shark with its mouth about a foot from her hand. She said she never paddled faster over the 100 yards to shore.
      For those who don’t know it is about 20 miles as the shark swims from Lido Beach to Sharkey’s and about 17 miles from Siesta Key to Sharkey’s.
      The East Coast of Florida seems to have the most Sharks. At night if the lights are on (not turtle nesting season) I have seen maybe 100 circling about 200 yards off shore.

  5. I suspect North Carolina is trending on the shark grapevine as a place for tasty morsels, or mortals.

  6. It’s similar to flipping a coin and getting 11 heads in a row. Or not. Maybe beachgoers have been defying the odds and, given the ever-increasing number of visitors to the Carolina beaches, it’s been astronomical odds that all the years ’til now have seen fewer than 11 shark attacks.

  7. Dufus effect, or sharks have spread the word delicious morsels purposely put themselves on the table, or humans are allowing shark populations to grow. A shark’s gotta eat.

  8. It appears that the Atlantic fishery is healthy.
    Please see the YouTube below from March, 2013.

    Enjoy America’s 239th!

    • It is healthy, and the catch reductions have had a huge impact on fishermen, and now the swimmers. The Forage Fish Campaign of Pew Charitable Trust is more Eco Gruberism.

      • Basically I think this could be traced back to a National Marine Fisheries ban on migratory fishing off the outer banks in I believe 2007/2008. I reviewed the federal register on the ban which goes from Jan 1-July 31st each year, didn’t seem to be implemented with a whole lot of data to support it that I could find. Wonder if the lack of data quality is becoming the norm in enivironmental science. I was at the Outer Banks last week, those fishing piers have been there at least 20 years without incident. There were plenty of baitfish, dolphins and sharks in the water this year. These human attacks haven’t been test bites either, I suspect we became part of their food chain and there are now so many sharks they are probably aggressively scavenging/competing for food. Frankly, there are not that many people in the Ocean down there as they are well aware of the attacks which make the prob stats around this nothing like the 1 in 11M chance thats thrown out there by the media. More in the 1:5,000-10,000 Range is more likely right now.

  9. It’s a standard practice now, when explaining ANY even or phenomenon, to tag “global warming” or “climate change” on at the end of the list.
    I am surprised when I don’t see it there.
    Of course what they usually mean is weather!

    • NatGeo has gotten so ridiculous about it I burst out laughing when I read it now. I think what amuses me is that their knowledge is stuck on 18 years ago, like no one has told them about The Pause.

  10. I don’t insist on it, but the following paradigm seems plausible:
    Number of whales killed goes down from Green efforts, means less krill eaten by whales, means increase in food supply of smaller fish, means increase in food supply of sharks, means more sharks means more shark attacks.
    And that works without temperature changes barely detectable by our most sensitive, sophisticates scientific instruments.

    • I the number of whales killed goes down…wouldn’t that mean MORE krill eaten by whales, as there would be more whales?…not less?

      • The real issue is that the more whales there are the more sharks there are. When a whale dies the main animals you see eating the carcass are large sharks. In Western Australia where I live there has been a huge rise in migrating whales along the coast. There has been a corresponding increase in dead whales and whenever you see footage of a whale carcass you see great whites eating the carcass

      • More whales = more sharks, albeit mostly great whites which seek mammal flesh after teenage puberty. There’s also evidence that their reproductive cycle is triggered by feasting on whale carcasses – i.e a full belly and plentiful food spark the hormones. See http://www.washarkattacks.net for a likely explanation of why Western Australia has in recent years been dubbed the shark attack capital of the world. From what I gather most of the Carolina attacks have been bull and tiger sharks, so the whale link isn’t quite as strong but is still possible. This isn’t humpback migration time in Carolina waters as they’re all feeding and humping in the Arctic at the moment, but other recovering whale species (usually calves and dead adults) might also be providing a lure for sharks off Carolina’s coast.

    • Nah. It’s just publicity for that new TV show about animals getting fed up with humans and attacking them.

      • Doesn’t that sequence seem reversed?
        Before they are fed, the attack comes first.
        As food we humans are not ideal;
        But sharks are not picky; a meal is a meal.
        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  11. C’mon Bob that’s not fair. They waited a couple days before pulling the trigger. No need to study menhadden biomasses or the Gulf stream eddys. Nothing to do with a booming tourist industry in that region and visitor growth or the fact of that stretch being known for high shark density especially at this time of year. No need to figure out what species either.

  12. Another factor may be that it is cool now to report being nipped by a shark. Previous under reporting.

  13. They’re not sharks. It’s a case of mistaken identity. They’re really environmental lawyers.

  14. There’s just no joy in anything they say or do….
    Bait fish and turtles have made a huge recovery….along with shark populations

  15. Anyone who takes the MSM at face value whenever CAGW / Global Warming / Climate Change is mentioned is a dufus.
    The whole subject is like an ebola / influenza / ice epidemic that the MSM just cannot shake and are spreading like rats.

  16. nothing to do then with the ban on shark fishing imposed some years back by the US government and the subsequent rebound in shark populations? nothing to do with an increase in turtles and other favourite shark foods closer in to shore? nothing to do with more people at the beaches? Ah no. Global warming is responsible as it is for everything else. This year my tomatoes have flea beetles; that hasn’t happened in past years -must be AGW…..

  17. National Geographic has an article on this news item. They list four pretty good reasons why this is happening and then throw in a fifth, global warming. And they refer to a shark biologist who says “the link is plausible”.
    It’s almost like the author wrote the article and then a “global warming officer” appended the required CAGW wording as per standing operating procedures.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/150629-north-carolina-shark-attacks-science/

  18. I guess without any real research/data, we’re left with two explanations:
    1) More sharks
    2) More stupid people
    I’m going with #2, which, btw, increases the nutrient-rich food source for #1…rinse, repeat. In an ideal world, the cycle should self-regulate; i.e. more people eaten, less food for sharks, less sharks.

  19. The climate obsessed are not really any different from ignorant peasants blaming witches for sour milk.

  20. Just out of curiosity, where is the Mid Atlantic Shark Area located????
    I will be at the Outer Banks in a couple of weeks.
    Should be interesting

  21. In 2000 there were five confirmed attacks in North Carolina.
    Would they call this an anomaly?

  22. A few weeks ago I looked into the question of shark attacks to counter a very stupid eco-poster someone put up on Facebook (yes, yes, I know) with very obviously dubious so-called statistics. In short, since the mid-1500s the number of unprovoked fatal attacks by sharks can be counted on the left hands of about 130 Yakuza. Most shark attacks result from provocation by humans and I’d guess that is what has been happening in the Carolinas – too many stupid humans pissing off the sharks.

  23. Murder rates in many large US cities seem to be up substantially this year…probably the same cause!

  24. Humans aren’t on the sharks menu. Too bony, which wreaks havoc on their digestive system. They bite all kinds of things. It’s their way of investigating. Kind of like real-world scientists, in a way.

  25. The main stream media is a propaganda arm of the central government. The government wants to exert ever more control over every aspect of your life — witness EPA actions — and, of course, steal ever more of your money via taxation. This story is just more science fiction presented to please the state and all its minions. We would hear more about this if sharks were as cute as polar bear cubs.
    There has been darn little anthropogenic global warming, and what AGW there has been has been things other than CO2 release. (land use, deforestation, data fudging, etc)
    The US Empire has gone Trillions into debt. Now they want to tax breathing. I wonder why.

  26. Just reviewed the saltwater fishing regs for Florida, S./N. Carolina. It seems the ban on shark fishing and the low catch limits have resulted in a huge success regarding the shark populations. I’ve heard about the shark nets in Australia, but don’t know a lot about them, other than there haven’t been many shark attacks. The only problem is that some animals die in the nets that aren’t dangerous or are on the endangered list.
    Reminds me of the Jaws story. At the start of the beach season a shark attack scares off the people and the money they were going to spend locally. I wonder what will be the reaction by the local government in these areas?

    • “Glenn999
      July 3, 2015 at 7:02 am”
      Shark nets are used at beaches around Australia, however the nets usually trap other animals rather than sharks. Other systems like bait hooks, which seem rather brutal to me, are used in some places. Usually there is strong disapproval to their use. I tend to stay out of the open sea and use the local seaside swimming pools that fill with sea water, and sometimes, animals.
      We’ve had two shark attacks here in Australia in the last two days, both were surfers and one was seriously injured. So far, not attributed to AGW, but there is still time in the lead up to the Paris gab fest!

      • Thanks for the info.
        The shark ban here in the SE US allows for one per person or two per vessel, whichever is lower. So three guys in a boat, and only two get to keep their catch.
        Main reason I don’t fish anymore. Too much money to try to catch the one fish I’m allowed. If I lived on the coast, I could fish nearly every day and the expenses would be justified.

  27. I don’t know anything about ocean currents along the east coast. However it has occurred to me that the scent of all that rotting garbage scooped up by the snow plows in Boston this past winter, might now be washing out as the snow melts and heading south to the Carolinas in a nice smelly slurry, attracting the sharks closer to shore.

    • Oh lord above. Sounds like you do not like driving in Boston anymore than I do. But really, blaming this on us is a bit of a stretch. Anyway, on the east coast, we have the Gulf Stream, a powerful current which flows from south to north, then east to Iceland and on to northern Europe. Boston trash would not end up off the Carolinas.
      I have been lucky to travel the Caribbean quite a lot in my time. I very often would encounter tourists concerned about sharks off the beaches. I would explain that it is not a problem, stifling my inner desire to scare the hell out of them. I just saw them as know-nothing tourists. Eventually, I saw a trend, the people most concerned were always from the mid-Atlantic states. Then I had occasion to go to Myrtle Beach, SC for a holiday. I got an education in 11 species of dangerous sharks, along with two pages of “Do’s And Dont’s” around the water, from the hotel’s activity desk.
      I got the feeling that the locals view shark attacks much the way we look at car crashes. Regrettable, but if you pay attention and do things right, the actual risk is minimal.
      Needless to say, when such tourists show up on a Caribbean beach, I am much more understanding. What else would you do with people who will knowingly swim with man-eating sharks.
      On the other hand, I have been known to terrorize people from Kansas (never seen the ocean before) with tales of killer Barracuda and Giant Squid, right off the beach.

  28. Has anyone examined if the victims used the same sunblock? Could be a new formula that inadvertently attracts sharks. Just sayin, some brilliant back room chemist may have included free range fish oil in the formula this year?

  29. Is this something to do with the increasing numbers of shark-jumping media stories recently?

  30. ”anyone who goes swimming in North and South Carolina waters, where there have recently been shark attacks, is very likely a dufus”
    Statistically, you’re much more likely to be harmed driving than swimming along NC/SC coasts. I’ve been swimming in these waters all my life (approaching half a century) and I’ve eaten more sharks than have tried to eat me. Actually, the only time I’ve had sharks try to bite me is when I’m taking them off the hook. Follow John’s 4 simple rules for swimming at the beach and you’ll probably never be shark bitten while swimming: 1) Never swim at dusk or dawn; 2) never swim near a pier; 3) never swim alone and I’m not just talking about the buddy system here, if you look up and down the beach and no one else is swimming you might want to hang back a minute until you figure out why; and 4) know what to do if you get caught in a rip current. In my experience you’re much more likely to be caught in a rip current than attacked by a shark. This has happened twice to me vs. no shark attacks; somewhat anecdotal evidence but still, just saying. If you do get caught in a rip current: 1) don’t panic; 2) don’t swim against the current; 3) swim perpendicular to the current until you’re away from it; 4) swim back in.

    • And don’t forget this one — if you see something that looks like a blue-violet baggie floating along in the surf, get out of the water. When the wind is just right, portuguese-man-of-war(s) are blown from the gulf stream into the beach. Nobody in our family has been bitten by a shark. My youngest son, however, has needed stitches from grabbing a wire leader with a shark at the other end just as it made a run and sliced the leader right into his hand. He’s also (amazingly enough) been hit by a PMOW in the surf right off of Fort Macon. A perfect line of small black dots, each of the pure pain, no remedy but time. From what I understand, if you get hit with enough of the stinging cells, the pain alone can put you in shock and kill you.
      rgb

  31. ClimateCentral.org always has fresh fantasies.
    More than 100 plant species can cause skin irritation, but among the most well known is poison ivy. With our greenhouse gas emissions climbing and the atmospheric concentration of CO2 building, we expect poison ivy to thrive. A 2007 study by Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, supports this concept. His study exposed poison ivy plants to four different concentrations of CO2 (300, 400, 500, and 600 ppm). The lowest two levels correspond to observations from the 1950s and the present. The highest two levels mirror projections for the years 2050 and 2090 from the 2007 AR4 IPCC report. In this analysis, we updated those projection dates based on the 2013 AR5 IPCC report, which are reflected in the graphic and animation.

    • A person can gain immunity from poison oak by eating it. During my explorations of the local creek as a kid I found I was very allergic to it. Had to get a steroid injection. My dad
      found an extract made from poison oak which was mixed with a little water and drunk. Never got it again. But I wasn’t trying either.
      http://yankeebarbareno.com/2011/03/03/eating-poison-oak/

      • Interesting about the poison oak. I found as a child that poison ivy didn’t affect me and would often show off that fact to friends. Poison oak did affect me though. Haven’t seen much of either since I moved to Colorado over forty years ago.

    • So the carbon dioxide will also retard the growth of all the flora that was competing with the poison ivy for sunlight? Fascinating!

    • With our greenhouse gas emissions climbing and the atmospheric concentration of CO2 building, we expect poison ivy to thrive…

      …along with pretty much every other green leafy plant or grassy plant or algal plant on the planet, yes, one expects poison ivy to thrive. Sheesh!
      Why doesn’t climatecentral.org publish exactly the same numbers for (say) wheat? Or corn? Or rice? Or brocolli? Or potatoes? Or tomatoes? Or squash? Or pine trees? Or any other useful plant?
      Because seriously, just about all of these plants grow some 10 to 15% faster for every additional 100 ppm of CO_2 they are grown in. Given that photosynthesis basically turns CO_2, H_2O, and nitrates into protein, sugar, and starches including cellulose, CO_2 at mere parts per million of the atmosphere is a rate-limiting bottleneck in plant growth for nearly every species of plant. Plants grown at higher concentrations are more robust, more drought resistant, grow faster (all other things being equal) and are just plain healthier.
      So yes, poison ivy is no doubt growing faster, but so is my grass, so are my flowers, so are my trees, and so are the deer that nibble all of the above. The Earth’s biosphere was starved for CO_2, especially at the nadir of the last glaciation when it went down to 180 to 190 ppm, just over the point where it might have caused a mass extinction of at least some species of plants. There is some evidence, weak so far, that the increased CO_2 is starting to green-in some of the world’s deserts. It will be very interesting to see how this proceeds as the atmospheric CO_2 level continues its inexorable march upwards towards 500 ppm.
      I personally rather think that our planet’s “optimum” CO_2 concentration is likely somewhere between 450 ppm and 550 ppm (as far as its biosphere is concerned). The interesting question will be whether or not we reach this. If we get fusion in the next decade, probably not. If not, maybe yes. But either way, technology and physics advances will make it unlikely that we are still burning coal for energy in fifty years not because it is “bad” to do so but because it is no longer cost effective to do so.

  32. North Carolina probably won’t be able to find an old sea dog fisherman that survived the sinking of the Indianapolis to go out to “find ’em, catch ’em, KILL ’em”

  33. I tell ya this is all because the government banned the poisonous stuff from suntan lotion. Swimmers used to smell like any other chemical discharge but now smell like they were marinated in coconut oil.

    • Another one is how so many more people are taking Omega 3 supplements many of which are made from fish oil which makes you smell like a fish. It wouldn’t hurt to canvas the survivors about their diet and vitamin supplements.

  34. Is it remotely possible that there is any basis to these ridiculous claims?
    Along the lines of the excess heat disappeared into the ocean/the dog ate my homework?
    “Global warming scientists have determined that sharks can detect minute electric fields. They think that the same mechanism can detect temperature changes of 0.01C (caused by CO2 emissions).. They may also be able to detect minute changes in salinity and ph (caused by CO2 emissions).”

    • So the sharks are attracted to people wearing their Apple iWatches ?

  35. Looking like COP21 Paris will be the cirque du soleil event of the UNFCCC.
    Now if we could just get the sharks to show up in the Ballroom!
    Ha ha

  36. Thanks Bob! While I do not wish bites on anyone. So many encounters shows a quite healthy shark population. A healthy population of apex predators is the halmark of a healthy ecosystem. Where there are lots of beasts there are lots of critters.

    • Beautiful beaches and water! There are lots of dolphins and you can see them skirting the surf and shore when feeding. Of course there are other hungry diners too.

  37. Maybe the sharks are just getting bored, after over a century’s complete absence of warming.

  38. Frankly, after betting most of my wad on the South Dakota sharks and losing it all because of their no show, this time I go with the Southern Carolinas.
    Pointman

  39. Hmm, here in the Bahamas, we regularly swim with the sharks, bulls, hammerheads, lemon, etc. No problems as long as everyone keeps the speared fish out of the water.
    I just had a 12′ bull shark cruise by me this morning. And of course it is a good idea to avoid early morning or late afternoon when sharks are feeding.

  40. Of course these attacks are due to Global Warming.
    The sharks are getting angry because there has not been enough Warming over the last 18 years, and they prefer warmer waters. The sharks are merely sending out a warning, that if we do not emit more CO2, they will continue their civil disobedience protest and bite even more bottoms…
    /sarc??

  41. So the oceans warm and the sharks response is to swim to the shore where the water is less deep and warmers.
    Sounds completely logical. /sarc

    • One Problem, The Atlantic ocean oscillation has turned cold forcing the fish which sharks feed on closer to land where it is warmer… The sharks follow.. People who have watched this happen for 70+ years see the patterns as they reoccur. During the last cool phase (1970’s) this was prevalent as well and there are movies up the wazoo about shark attacks from the 1970’s and 1980’s..

  42. Why is it bad that sharks are coming closer to shore and attacking humans?
    Because humans have decided that this is “their” place to bathe and swim. Sharks are evil creatures because the environment that they live in overlaps the environment that humans have staked a claim to.
    Why are polar bears presented as cuddly looking, threatened creatures that will struggle to exist if Arctic ice continues to melt? Because very few humans live in the Arctic. It’s ok for them to kill other creatures in that environment because we let them have it. If polar bears lived in lower latitudes where people were attacked more frequently, then they would not enjoy the cuddly mascot for global warming status.
    Why is CO2 so bad for life on this planet? Actually, it’s beneficial to almost all life……..with the notable exception of potentially effecting many aspects of human civilization.
    A large % of humans have built on or close to the shorelines of the oceans. We must keep the oceans at the levels they currently are. Doesn’t matter that oceans have varied by many feet in the past naturally. In this age, we decide what the right sea level should be, what is effecting it and how to manage it.
    Same thing with global temperatures. Doesn’t matter that life on this planet has almost always done better when its this warm or warmer and much worse when its colder……….we have decided that the ideal temperature of the planet was the temperature that it was at a century ago…….and cannot be exceeded by X amount.
    We have also decided what is best for every creature on this planet. Strangely enough, our studies show that they all do worse when CO2 and temperature go up(despite life doing better under this environment in the past). We have even found that future crop yields(and good plant growth) will be going down as CO2 goes up by using assumptions and models that overpower the solid science of plants/photosynthesis. Weeds and noxious plants always do much better(despite modern farming being very effective at managing them)
    In the few studies that do find some benefits to increasing CO2, the speculative or theoretical detrimental effects are almost always much greater.
    Let’s just throw out everything we know, all the bias’s, studies, models and so on and look at what actually happened to life, especially human life during the most recent periods of extended warming(Medieval Warm Period) and cooling(Little Ice Age):
    http://www.ancientdestructions.com/greenland-once-a-viking-paradise/
    Consider those periods of 2 contrasting extremes, with a great fluctuation in climate from natural causes to be like a giant, real world laboratory that we should use as an observation of how life did/does………….when it gets much warmer………….then, when it gets much colder.

  43. I just heard a new report on the radio blaming salt for the increase in shark attacks. They said that less runoff of fresh water, due to less rain, due to climate change is causing the problem because sharks like saltier water. Are the Carolinas experiencing severe drought conditions? Is California experiencing more shark attacks?

  44. The water in the Pacific Ocean is much colder and people don’t swim and bathe the same as in the Carolina’s. I think that the warmest the water gets on the Los Angeles area beaches is around 70 deg F in August, in contrast to the temperature having topped 80 in the shark attack areas numerous weeks ago.
    Somebody else probably knows about the actual sharks that live in that area, which might be a factor.

    • Inshore in that area they have sand sharks, lemon sharks, threshar shark, black tips and bull sharks. They can also have the rare tiger shark come Inshore. I would guess these are huge sand sharks. Maybe it’s a mix of species. Nobody that got hit described a very large shark. They are simply gorging themselves with the abundant food that is right on the beach like mossbunker.

  45. Standard joke for teenager surfers at our surf club ( Sydney, Oz):
    Why do sharks eat turtles?
    Because they ( the turtles) look like Boogie boarders.
    ( Boogie boards are the short surf boards loved by many young surfers.)

  46. I will be on Ocracoke island in about 2 weeks for my annual vacation to that awesome beach. I’ll go in the water, but not very far into the water, just enough to cool off. From what I saw from the locals, it’s been dry in that area, so the fresh water isn’t diluting the salt water near the beach as it ‘normally’ does, so the sharks are venturing in closer to the beach chasing bait fish. I took a small plane ride over the island a couple of years ago and could see many dozens, if not well over 100 sharks parallel to the coast probably 100 yards off the beach. Sharks frequent the outer banks, this year I’ll be more aware of what’s around me in the water. Global warming? Meh. Typical scare tactic.
    Can’t wait to get down there! 🙂

  47. The same idiots claim there is overpopulation…shouldn’t they go for a swim?

  48. In the mid to late 1980’s I worked on the Outer Banks of N.C.
    I worked on the docks unloading fishing boats,and sometimes worked on the boats,mainly small gill netters and coastal trawlers catching flounder.
    We caught a huge shark in the nets one time when we were fishing maybe 150 yuards off the beach-being young smart as*es,we winched the shark up on one of the outriggers for the nets-and 16 1/2′ shark. Didn’t know what kind until a lady from Marine Fisheries informed us it was a dusky shark.
    There were no more kids on jet skis,rafts,etc. in the water after we winched the shark up.
    They all hit the beach and stayed there for the next few days.
    This was during the fall bluefish run,so lots of shark food in the water,schools of bluefish eat everything in their way,I’ve seen them run schools of speckled trout right up onto the beach.
    The guys who long-lined and rod and reel fished for tuna always caught lots of sharks as well-the Gulf Stream is only 6 miles offshore from Oregon inlet,where most of the fishing boats go out from.
    It’s a miracle that more people haven’t been bitten on the N.C. beaches.

  49. we have had 2 shark attacks here in N.S.W. AUSTRALIA in the last 2 days less than 1 mile apart.its the middle of winter and those 2 days have been the coldest 2 days in july since 2012.total crap

  50. White pointers have been having a nibble at surfers here on the East Coast of Australia as well. No doubt the combination of warmer and more acidic seas is making them hungrier. And when the ice caps melt (in 2013, isn’t it?) we’ll all be up to our waists in water. That’s quite deep enough for a shark attack, and especially for a bull shark.
    We’re doomed.

  51. Likely the factors involved are complex and interrelated.
    If they limited shark-fishing, and the shark population increased, at some point the population will pass an ideal upper limit, and the sharks will get hungrier. SNAP!
    If you protect the sea-turtles and their population increases, sharks have more snacks and their population goes up. (Up here in New England we have seen a big increase in seals due to protections, and lo and behold, we have more Great White Sharks off Cape Cod.)
    Water salinity and temperature also are factors. When the sixty-year-cycle of the AMO moves from its “warm” to “cold” phase, the cold first appears in the eastern Atlantic, and the warm waters retreat and pool along the east coast of the USA. which we see happening this year. (Note this is local and cyclical, and not Global Warming.)
    Things can change in a hurry. If that warm water along the coast brews up a tropical storm, the Carolinas can get pounding surf and drenching rains. When theor brown rivers flood the salinity of the coastal waters changes. This would be well worth further study. Anyone want to supply me with a grant, so I can go to the beach?
    What’s that you say? I won’t get a grant if I focus on the AMO? Oh, all right then. I’ll figure out some way to link it to Global Warming. How about a report linking temperature to the size of bikinis, and the number of old men smiling behind sunglasses on beaches? Do they count as sharks?

  52. Let’s look at the nuisance animal issue. Some years ago dangerous animals were culled to a point they were no longer a problem and NOT extinct. Enter the environmental groups and voila, dangerous species get blanket protections and their populations explode. Thus now you have a Shark problem. Same goes for bears. This Apex predator was ‘educated’ and learned to fear/avoid humans. Now, thanks to anti- hunting groups, these predators are no longer in fear of mankind and wander into populated (and less populated) areas looking to do what bears do best, find the easiest source of food and that means your garbage. In Maine (and elsewhere), these nuisance bears are regularly live trapped by biologists and relocated to more rural regions where they (having learned the good life in the city), continue their routine. We had one that broke into several houses and chicken coops. One day it showed up at the family homestead and was getting ready to attack the family dog on her run and was shot by a game warden living next door. There were 4 young children playing outside that alerted us to the bear.
    Here is the latest on Polar Bears:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/03/us-usa-polarbears-idUSKCN0PD08A20150703?utm_source=twitter
    So now we enter coyote’s, wolves, and other feline predators. The same problem exists. At the ZOO there are signs that say DO NOT FEED THE (Insert animal here). That is so true.

  53. As somebody that actually lives on the Carolina coast during the summer, going swimming or wading there does not make you a “doofus”. I live on the Beaufort inlet while teaching at the Duke Marine Lab in the summer (summer session 2 starts Monday). The waters of the inlet are literally full of sharks. There are big sharks, small sharks, full grown sharks, baby sharks, and everything in between. There are at least a dozen species of sharks — three or four of them known to at least occasionally chomp on people — in both the inlet itself and in the waters just outside along Shackleford Banks or Atlantic Beach. I’ve personally seen, or caught, dogfish, blacktip reef sharks, bull sharks, spinner sharks, bonnethead sharks, sand tiger sharks, and a couple of other species I can’t name offhand. My neighbors, who have lived there for over 40 years, have seen hammerheads (one was reportedly spotted in the inlet earlier this year) and tiger sharks (one was also reported swimming close to shore right off of Shackleford around a month ago).
    But as a general rule, they don’t bite people. We aren’t what they eat. The two exceptions out of the entire list above are probably bull sharks — arguably one of the most aggressive of the entire list and responsible for a large fraction if not a majority of all near shore bites around here — and tiger sharks, which are rare inshore but which are big sharks that sometimes hunt for big prey near shore.
    It is worthwhile to actually look at the statistics before making wild claims. Here is a graph of NC shark attacks back to 1900:
    http://www.sharkattackdata.com/place/united_states_of_america/north_carolina
    and here is a not as useful picture of lightning deaths in NC:
    http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/north-carolina-in-nations-top-5-for-lightning-dama/nGtgm/
    Lessee, since 1900 nine — count them, nine — people have died in NC from shark attacks. That is an average of 0.09 deaths per year. On the other hand, NC ranks between 4 and 5 nationally for lightning deaths, with roughly 4.7 deaths per year. And neither one is even a significant risk to a beachgoing swimmer.
    Here is the only risk worth really worrying about:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3136500
    http://archive.org/stream/drowningdeathsin00pate/drowningdeathsin00pate_djvu.txt
    http://www.jdnews.com/article/20140206/News/302069912
    In a five year stretch from 1980 to 1984, well over 1000 people drowned in NC. That’s an average of over 200 a year. In that same stretch, five people drowned in Beaufort alone — an average of one a year. In 2014, six people drowned just from being caught in rip currents while wading/swimming off NC’s beaches. If you swim or boat at all in the ocean in NC, you are many times more likely to be killed by lightning (which again, kills a number of boaters and swimmers every year off of the NC coast alone) and are overwhelmingly more likely to die by drowning in some sort of accident or by being caught in a rip current or from being drunk on the water than you are of being killed by a shark attack.
    One last comment. A glance at the statistics on shark attacks in the link above indicates that it is absolutely true that the number of shark attacks per year in NC is increasing, and it is also true that if you look at the clustering of the attacks and the fatalities, they show peaks in the warm 30’s and early 40’s as well as the warm 1980’s through the present. However, the largest source of the growth evident in the chart is almost certainly the increasing popularity and accessibility of the beaches themselves. There are simply more people going into the water more of the time, all up and down the coast. Both the ocean and sound communities are growing as more and more people want to own property at the beach and are affluent enough to afford it, and that same affluence means that more and more people are renting or staying in hotels or just driving down for a day at the beach. More people equal more opportunities for bites. It might even be that the probability of being fatally attacked by a shark has decreased over the last fifty years per exposure, but if the number of exposures keeps going up, you can easily get many more attacks at a lower probability.
    As I tell my students at the Marine Lab, every time you go into the sea in NC, you are almost certainly being looked at by sharks. I’ve had sharks break off my line or bite off my bait fishing 70 or 80 feet down from people playing in the surf while surf fishing. I’ve watched 7 foot bull sharks swim right by Pivers Island (where the Marine Lab and NOAA are both housed) at night and watched undergrads swim through the same channel the next morning. I’ve flipped my kayak while fishing in the inlet and had to paddle it upside down over a mile or so of open water and channels that I know for a fact are full of sharks. I was a lot more worried about being pulled out through the inlet mouth into the Atlantic upside down or being run over by a boat (and drowning) than I was being attacked by a shark. We simply are not what they eat. Our beaches don’t really hold large marine mammals like seals, and while we do have a lot of dolphins they are not really shark food either.
    The sharks are there for the same reason I’m there. They eat the menhaden, the mullet, the flounder, the small blues, the small spanish mackerel, the hogfish and spots and croakers, they eat the crabs and baby sea turtles and rarely a gull or duck. And they usually feed in the evening and early morning. I’ve had a four foot bonnethead shark make a run straight at my ankles splashing alone in a foot of water early in the morning — it stopped ten feet away, looked up at me, said “Holy s**t, you aren’t a flounder!” and turned and ran straight away from me just as fast. But in the dark it might not have discovered its mistake in time. We advise the students who swim off of the ML docks not to swim in the early morning or late afternoon or EVER at night — night is dumb for many reasons and sharks are just one of them, as there is a substantial current around the island.
    I’ve been brushed against by sharks in murky water while surf fishing a number of times. It is pretty spooky — you can tell that it is a shark from the sandpaper quality of the contact, but you can’t see it or tell how large it is or why it is there. In the murk, there is always a chance that you will get “tasted” — not “attacked” but nibbled on to see what you are. A lot of times, an “attack” in the surf isn’t even a shark — at times bluefish will attack anything that moves in the water and have very sharp teeth. But with all of that, the overwhelming risk any time you go out into ANY water — a lake, a pond, your bathtub, the ocean above all — is drowning. Literally tens of thousands of people drown in the ocean every year per shark fatality, worldwide. Even a skilled swimmer who is not intoxicated and who knows the risks of e.g. riptides is at risk the moment they wade out into the water.
    As for the big question — why the peak this year? A number of explanations and none at all are likely responsible. A look at the data above shows that this year isn’t really uniquely attackish — there have been five or more shark attacks in a year four times since 1996, and given the general growth in the smoothed average number of attacks per year — currently up to around 3 — the number doesn’t really require any explanation other than random noise. However, other factors (that are still “random”) may well contribute. In the Beaufort inlet, changes in the bottom topography post hurricane Sandy (which washed around a half mile of Shackleford banks away into the inlet) as well as silt from the perpetual dredging that keeps the port of Morehead CIty open has created a bumper crop of menhaden and herring, so small bait is plentiful. Blues and Spanish Mackerel are sight feeders and hence are not efficient in murky water. Dolphins are, and I’ve never seen so many dolphins in the waters in front of our house. At night you can hear them breathing and slapping the water with their tails as they hunt. Sharks use sound and vibration as much or more than sight to localize preay and may be coming in to exploit the same bonanza of inshore baitfish, and with the water murky all the time it is easy to mistake a human foot for a fish splashing around even in the daytime. The hot weather (we had a two week hot spell in what has otherwise been a fairly cool year so far) has also increased inshore salinity, which favors deepwater fish that are comparatively intolerant of fresh water moving in closer to the shore. The increased number could even be due to the general success of measures to protect shark breeding grounds (like the inlet) and reducing the number of sharks taken.
    I leave you all with the following perspective:
    http://www.scotttaylorphoto.com/sharks09/images/sharks01.jpg
    http://www.scotttaylorphoto.com/sharks09/
    That’s the same water I kayak all the time, as well. Shackleford and Fort Macon are clearly visible in two of the pictures. Most of the time you just can’t see the sharks, even from a boat, but helicopters and planes flying along the coast or fishermen who spend a lot of time on the water see them all the time, usually a few meters away from where people are happily swimming. They just don’t usually attack people, and the attacks that do occur are usually from a handful of species, often “out of place”.
    rgb

  54. Shark behavior is pretty simple. They REALLY like to eat and occasionally have sex.
    So I suspect there is something tasty in the waters off OBX which is a bit closer in than usual.

  55. Sharks and Climate Change
    “Global warming has made it difficult for sharks to continue living their peaceful existence. It has also increased the tensions among them and humans.”
    http://www.sharks-world.com/sharks_and_global_warming/
    I thought this was a joke but this group in Miami Florida is serious.
    “Peaceful existence?” Don’t we all remember how cuddly and peaceful those sharks used to be when we were growing up? Damn that CO2!!

  56. In the summer of 1987 three attacks occurred in the Port Aransas, Texas area, two in one day. Other single attacks had occurred after killing freezes, one in 1962 fatal. Bob Jones, then director of the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, myself, and the late Henry Hildebrand investigated the later attacks and wondered if the lack of food contributed. The local officials were very open and cooperative about this mini-JAWS episode. We submitted a paper based on an old idea of extended foraging, where predators take greater risks, including new territories, when food is scarce. We suggested that considering varying environmental factors preceding the attacks were necessary. The journal remarked that this was the most controversial paper ever and the reviewers were vitriolic and made errors. It was rejected and we simply sent the information to the Shark Attack File. We identified a tooth from one victim as a blacktip, which are common summer residents. There is evidence that young are protected from predation in the surf zone by larger sharks, often seen just offshore. Large sharks are sometimes close to the shoreline, especially under calm conditions where slopes are steeper.
    Subsequent to the Texas one, a Red Tide appeared off North Carolina and I wrote Frank Schwartz, mentioned in the National Geographic piece, but he said that it was offshore and probably would not be important.
    Shark attacks are very rare most places, but within are the not so rare clumps. These pages are full of warnings about statistics, but relegating attacks to only ‘accidents’ avoids what could be insight into shark behavior. A large study by David Baldridge produced both a scholarly report and a popular book. He suggested that attacks were more likely when sharks were “petulant,” but the definition was unclear.
    A half century ago I worked on sharks on the outer Virginia coast, a high salinity area where sharks were common. Although more cool related species were common, tropical species showed up, including large male lemon sharks.
    Great whites, the worst offenders, should be restricted by increasing temperatures since they are a cold temperate species. Collectively attacks are probably influenced/caused by a number of factors. Discriminating against hypotheses is not new, but we seem to have lots of cases in varying areas of science. While I have not examined the subject lately, shark populations may have been overregulated based on misunderstanding of their reproductive abilities. The possibility that there is a resource mismatch should not be discounted. Attacks relegated to the “… only small numbers… ” category are not well appreciated by those damaged.

  57. lol they should check occams razor, the most simple solution is usually the right answer IE NO SWIMMERS equals NO shark attacks unless sharks learn how to walk on land

  58. Fed policy has led to shark increases which leads to more shark attacks. Simple solution: Reduce shark numbers at NC/SC beaches now. How? Suspend all shark fishing restrictions inside the 3 mile area for 60-90 days. If attacks continue, the ultimate solution is to post a bounty on all sharks in that area. Try starting with $50 for any shark over 40lbs. Go up in price from there. Problem solved. Sharks vs kids arms and legs; sharks lose. Shark huggers won’t like this solution because sharks matter.

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