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Humans Aren’t The Only Ones That Call North Carolina’s Coast A Vacation Destination

Source: WRAL & Ocearch & CNN

Our coast is known worldwide as a popular vacation destination because of the beautiful beaches, our barrier islands otherwise known as the Outer Banks, and the many other attractions up and down our beautiful coastline. This is also true for our friends that live in the waters off our coast. It’s no secret that the ocean is home to some of the most beautiful marine life. Even marine life needs a nice vacation from time to time just like us humans.

Did you know the waters off North Carolina’s coast are a popular vacation destination for sharks in the winter and spring months? Yep, even Jaws wants a break from Hollywood cameras and yelling directors for a little bit of self-care. Alright, this is for you young people that might be out of the loop on who Jaws is, Jaws is a fictional shark from a Steven Spielberg movie so don’t take that last sentence too seriously. 

On a real note, sharks make their yearly migration from the cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean and Canada south to the Caribbean and Florida Keys in the winter and return north during the late spring and early summer before returning south once again during the winter. 

“Many of our animals use the productive continental shelf waters around the Outer Banks, NC as a spring staging area before making their migration north for their summer residency,” OCEARCH wrote on Facebook.

One of those sharks on the yearly journey is named Brenton and he is no small shark. According to the nonprofit OCEARCH, a nonprofit marine research group, Breton is a mature male shark that is 13 feet, 3 inches long and weighs 1,437 pounds. The organization has tracked Breton since Sept. 11, 2020, when researchers measured and tagged the shark before releasing him back into the ocean.

Brenton is one of several great white sharks pinged off the coast of North Carolina. Just like humans, these sharks love the Outer Banks and the Cape Fear region near Wilmington and Southport. Recently great white sharks Simon and Jekyll were pinged near Pamlico Sound. Great white sharks are protected vulnerable animals according to IUCN as the sharks face population decline due to overfishing of their prey and accidental catch by fishermen. 

Sharks are safely captured and released in under fifteen minutes for research purposes. This measure is to ensure no stress, hurt or harm is brought upon the animal. Researchers collect blood and tissue samples along with weighing and measuring the shark. This research is used over time to monitor the animals’ diet and growth along with their travels over time. OCEARCH has had over 44 expeditions with 200 researchers and published research in 75 publications. 

As the unpredictable weather of North Carolina’s spring season continues and days with temperatures near 90 degrees arrive, the beach will be a popular destination for folks. Please be mindful that our friends in the sea are making their journey back north for the summer and it’s not uncommon to see them traveling near the coastline. You can track tagged sharks swimming off our coast through the OCEARCH shark tracker.  Understand that not all sharks in the ocean have GPS tracking and this site is not a recommended source to determine if you want to enter the ocean waters. 

Please be safe and respectful of our beautiful marine life and coastline as you make your way down east this spring and summer travel season.

Read more about OCEARCH here

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