Friday, July 3, 2015

North Carolina Sharks in Marine Protected Area

Mid-Atlantic Shark Area

Swim At Your Own Risk

:: By: Larry Walker II ::

If you follow the mainstream media, you would think the recent surge in shark attacks off the North Carolina coast is due to unusually warm water, a lack of rain causing increased salinity, or because more people are in the water than ever before, all of which is nonsense.

In other words, they don’t have a clue. It might be more helpful to the public if the mainstream media simply stated the obvious and moved on to its next barrage of misinformation.

So what is causing the uptick in the number of coastal North Carolina shark attacks? Well, unbeknownst to many, the area just off the North Carolina coastline is known as the Mid-Atlantic Shark Area (pictured above). And as if this isn’t clue enough, it also happens to be the most protected marine area in the United States.

According to the Marine Conservation Institute, “The area includes Essential Fish Habitat and Habitat Areas of Particular Concern for sandbar and dusky sharks, serving as nursery and pupping areas for these species. The area is closed to vessels using bottom longline gear from January 1 through July 31.” And according to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), fishing of Atlantic Sharpnose, Blacknose, Blacktip, Bull, Tiger and other Shark species is strictly off limits in this area.

Sorry to break the news, but since no one is allowed to fish and therefore contain this shark infested region for the first seven months of every year, nor allowed to capture the most dangerous shark species thereafter, if one wishes to visit a beach in early Summer (for recreational purposes), their last destination of choice ought to be the North Carolina coastline.

Why are sharks important ecologically? According to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, “Sharks sit atop the food chain as apex predators. As such, they play an important ecological role in keeping prey populations healthy by removing weak, old, and infirm individuals. When shark populations decline due to over-fishing and habitat loss, prey populations can increase unchecked, leading to an overall decline in ecosystem health.”

Great, but then who’s supposed to keep shark populations in check, the federal government? Yeah, right! If you’re sitting around waiting on them to act, it might help if you woke them up first.

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