Experts: Shark attacks unlikely at the Jersey Shore

Experts say shark attacks are unlikely at the Jersey Shore.

Experts say shark attacks are unlikely at the Jersey Shore. (7/8/15)

JERSEY SHORE - A series of shark attacks off the coast of North Carolina and South Carolina have some swimmers at the Jersey Shore afraid to go into the water.

At the Jersey Shore, although there have been no attacks, many fisherman and swimmers have reported seeing some sharks. Last week in Belmar, a 6-feet-long thresher shark washed up on the beach.

Wall surfer Chris Costello says he recently had a run-in with a small shark in the water off Sea Girt.

"All of a sudden I saw bait fish and bigger fish chasing them, and next thing you know, a fin pops up," says Costello. "It freaked me out, but then I realized it wasn't too big."

Cindy Claus is a marine animal expert at Jenkinson's Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach. She says the chance of a shark attack in New Jersey is very slim. 

"They're not interested in people. They're looking for smaller prey," she says.

Claus says most of the sharks found at the Jersey Shore are smaller sharks, such as nurse sharks, sandbar sharks and sand tiger sharks.

"They're here. Divers see them. Surfers see them, but they don't really interact with people," Claus explains.

Although it may seem that there has been an increase in shark sightings and attacks, Claus says that is not truly the case.

"Social media is incredible with getting the word out.  It only takes one person to be at the beach.  They see a shark, take a picture, and share.  Pretty soon it looks like there are sharks all over the place," she says.

Some marine experts say there should be designated fishing and swimming beaches since most people attract sharks with fishing bait.

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