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Oak Island Officals Consider Shark Fishing Ban

After three swimmers were attacked by sharks along the southeastern coast of North Carolina, the Town of Oak Island is considering a ban on shark fishing at their pier. Town officials have discussed a temporary ban that would prevent fishermen from luring sharks close to the pier until at least after Independence Day. Other piers across the coast, like Emerald Isle’s Bogue Inlet Pier, already restrict shark fishing for a variety of reasons. Assistant Manager Rhonda Wagner says it disrupts other kinds of fishing.

“When you get a shark on, the first thing it wants to do is run to the shore, and it messes up everyone’s fishing line all the way down.”

At Atlantic Beach, Oceanna Pier House manager Haley Barker says the pier forbids shark fishing to protect swimmers.

“It’s not good because we actually have people that come out here and go swimming and it’s not good to be chumming for sharks when you have children and grown adults that are going to be swimming right next to the pier.”

Even without chum, sharks still congregate near piers’ cleaning stations, where fishermen clean fish and discard waste. The pier structures also serve as attractive habitats for sharks. Cathy Willock says Carolina Beach Pier, less than 30 miles north of Oak Island, prohibit shark fishing to protect swimmers and fish.

“When the low tide is in, the kids are out there on the beach and they’re in the water and it’s just too close for them to come in. Plus, the fact that, if you allow shark fishing, the other fish won’t come.”

The Division of Marine Fisheries advises anglers to avoid attracting sharks by scheduling beach fishing times at night or in the early morning, by never actively chumming near a swimming area, and by fishing away from beachgoers.

Jared Brumbaugh is the Assistant General Manager for Public Radio East. An Eastern North Carolina native, Jared began his professional public radio career at Public Radio East while he was a student at Craven Community College earning his degree in Electronics Engineering Technology. During his 15+ years at Public Radio East, he has served as an award-winning journalist, producer, and on-air host. When not at the station, Jared enjoys hiking, traveling, and honing his culinary skills.