Overpopulation of sharks in North Carolina waters, fishermen say


Fishermen along the Outer Banks say there are too many sharks in North Carolina waters, so, WNCT’s Dillon Huffman asked the question: is the fact that there are so many sharks, contributing to the number of attacks we’ve seen.

There have been three in North Carolina in the past month.

Fishermen in the Outer Banks say not really, they said they’re more of a problem for them, but they said there are more sharks out there than you know and to be careful.

Holton Clifton is a commercial fisherman along the Outer Banks.

“I love it, you get paid to fish,” said Clifton.

He fishes for tuna on the Sandra D but said in the last few years he’s noticed a problem.

“As soon as the rod comes up, the sharks are waiting, when a tuna starts struggling, the sharks just wolfpack them,” said Clifton.

Holton said there are too many sharks in North Carolina waters and that’s due to there being so many rules and regulations when it comes to fishing for sharks most fishermen don’t even bother.

“It makes it hard for us, you get a bunch of heads back to the boat, hahaha that ain’t no fun for nobody,” said Clifton.

But it begs the question is the number of sharks contributing to the attacks?

17-year-old Paige Winter lost her leg and several fingers when she was attacked in Atlantic Beach.

“I’m gonna be able to walk, write, everything, just same old Paigey,” said Winter.

At Ocean Isle Beach, 19-year-old Austin Reed was bitten on the foot.

And most recently Sunday at Bald Head Island an 8-year-old boy was bitten.

All expected to recover.

Clifton said you know the sharks are there, so you must take that into account when you’re in the ocean, but he says they’re not out to kill you.

“They’re just like any other animal, you just gotta respect them in their natural habitat,” said Clifton.

Shark attacks are rare, Clifton said if they could fish for them with the harsh regulations it could cut down on the population some and it would be better for everyone.

9 On Your Side spoke to one man who was at the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament this past week in Morehead City he said he lost what could have been a 900-pound fish all due to the sharks.

9OYS spoke to scientists at UNC IMS about the sharks, they say their data shows the shark population is actually down, you can read that story here.


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