Sharks vs. Rip Currents: What You Need to Know
As you probably heard, several fishermen recently had an encounter with a great white shark 30 miles off the coast of Manasquan and that shark enjoyed a bag of chum before taking off. Here's the good and bad news about what you need to fear in our ocean.
The waters of NJ are healthy and teeming with ocean life. And, according to NJ Sea Grant, that is a good thing.
The great white is the largest predatory fish on earth. It can exceed 20 feet long and weigh up to 5,000 pounds. Great white sharks can be found worldwide in cool coastal and offshore waters. Scientists have no reliable data on just how many great whites are out there, but they do agree that their numbers are declining.
Although they are feared by many and hunted by far too many, sharks (including the great white) are some of the most misunderstood creatures on earth.
The truth is, we'd be hard-pressed to live without them. As top ocean predators, sharks keep our ocean clean. And given that we depend on the ocean for food, jobs, water, and even the air we breathe, we owe a big thanks to sharks.
The bigger news is that sharks are under attack. Experts estimate that about 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year -- mostly for their fins. Compare that to last year's worldwide total of 130 shark attacks with 5 fatalities -- zero in NJ.
And if you compare the odds of a shark attack to that of being killed by a rip current, check this out: Last year, the National Weather Service reported 66 deaths (plus tens of thousands of rescues) directly attributed to rip currents in the U.S. alone. So what's more dangerous and deadly -- a rip current, or a shark? No contest: it's the rip current!