Thank you, global warming. At least we’re getting a Northwest Passage out of this.
«”Global climate change has prompted warmer water temperatures farther northward,” Burgess said. That means more fin sightings in places historically considered shark-free.
A 2018 study published in the journal Scientific Reports noted that between 2011 and 2016, bull sharks moved their nurseries farther north, into North Carolina waters. The study authors found that the bull shark presence near the Pamlico Sound was correlated with water temperature: When temperatures in Pamlico Sound dropped below 22 degrees Celsius, no juvenile bull sharks were observed in the area.
“Bull sharks are animals that want to continue their attack after the first bite and don’t give up,” Burgess said. “Not all sharks are that way.”
Naylor said Winters’ father was smart to intervene during his daughter’s attack.
“It was exactly the right thing to do, he likely saved her life by upending the animal,” he said.
“Bull sharks like brackish water and are known to even ascend into freshwater rivers that are farther inland to hunt,” he said.
These river deltas, where fresh and salt water mix, are also prime fish habitats for fish — another factor that draws sharks closer to shore.
“Bull sharks … pursue a variety of prey and interesting objects, which occasionally include people,” Naylor said. “They’re large animals, and quite tenacious.”
“If people are playing in the same waters, sharks will encounter the people, mistakes happen and someone gets bitten,” he said. “If you see schooling fish, you’d be well advised to get out of the water.”
Burgess said another factor in the higher number of shark attacks is simply that North Carolina’s tourism industry has attracted more visitors to the state’s beaches than in years past.»