Carolina Shark Accidents Pile Up

Dr. Reese Halter with fourth grade ocean science students

On Wednesday, the tenth shark accident in the Carolinas in the past three weeks took place. The average shark accidents for the Carolinas per year is six. So, the sixty-four thousand dollar question is: what’s going on?

First of all, the oceans globally have been over-harvested. Sharks, the doctors of the sea, are hungry.

Secondly, sharks are phenomenal scavengers and they follow their prey wherever it takes them – including into freshwater rivers as far as 2,000 miles from saltwater.

Thirdly, the unintended consequences of burning subsidized fossil fuels and releasing in excess of 96 million metric tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide daily into the atmosphere has warmed the oceans. Ocean currents are beginning to drastically change.

The warming atmosphere is spurning more droughts locally and globally. So now the waters off the Carolinas are unseasonably warm and the drought, which has enveloped the region, has translated to less freshwater running off the creeks and rivers into the Atlantic Ocean. That means the waters off the Carolinas are saltier.

Those saltier conditions have attracted more fish and in turn the sharks, which follow their prey. Adding to this perfect storm, there are far more people going to the beach because it’s hot, it’s summer and it’s the Fourth of July weekend.

Would you like to know more about the doctors of the sea – sharks? Then watch Discovery’s Shark Week with my good friend, Hollywood director Eli Roth and me next week.

Earth Dr. Reese Halter’s latest book is “Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save our Oceans.”