NC fishermen say shark overpopulation is problematic for them

North Carolina news

NAGS HEAD, N.C. (WNCT) – Is the fact that there are so many sharks contributing to the number of attacks?

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. They also said there are more sharks out there many know and to be careful.

“I love it. You get paid to fish,” commercial fisherman Holton Clifton said.

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. That’s due to there being so many rules and regulations that, 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,” Clifton said. “That ain’t no fun for nobody.”

It begs the question: is the number of sharks contributing to the attacks?

Paige Winter, 17, 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, an 8-year-old boy was bitten Sunday at Bald Head Island.

All are expected to recover.

Clifton said the presence of sharks needs to be taken into account when people go into the ocean. They’re not out there to kill people.

“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.

WNCT 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.

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