BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An unprecedented influx of shark attacks along East Coast beaches in the past few weeks. And with the holiday weekend ahead, beachgoers are on high alert.
Meghan McCorkell spoke with experts about what could be causing the attacks.
There have been seven shark attacks along the North Carolina coast in just the past three weeks–the most in decades.
A 68-year-old man is the latest victim of a shark attack off the coast of North Carolina.
“I could see blood, like a trail of blood from the ocean to where he was laying,” said one witness.
He is the seventh shark attack survivor along North Carolina beaches in just the past three weeks.
Attacks here are normally rare–with less than one per year.
“It’s a little scary. Don’t remember seeing so many shark attacks,” said one beachgoer.
But it appears this summer sharks are coming closer than ever.
WJZ captured a hammerhead swimming along Ocean City beaches last week.
Experts say there are a number of factors that could be drawing the sharks closer to shore.
Scientists cite warmer water and an increase in bait fish near the beach.
Over at the National Aquarium, shark expert Alan Henningsen says less rainfall also may bring sharks in.
“Sharks that normally won’t penetrate fresh waters, if there’s less fresh water flowing into the sea, they can come up on the shoreline,” he said.
Still, he says this increase in attacks is unusual.
McCorkell: “There’s a lot of people going to the beach this weekend. Is there any reason to be worried?”
Henningsen: “You just have to be aware of the environment. If you see somebody cleaning and dumping off fish, you don’t want to go in there. Keep an eye out for diving sea birds–because often, sea birds will be feeding on fish and the fish will be what the sharks are there to prey on.”
Precautions that could prevent another gruesome scene.
Officials say there has never been an unprovoked attack in Maryland.
All of the people attacked by sharks on the East Coast this year have survived.