Here are the chances that a shark will actually attack in New Jersey this summer
🔵 With summer season approaching, there is the annual concern of shark attacks
🔵 There are certain types of sharks that have the most likely chance of being in NJ
🔵 The behaviors of different sharks that you need to know about
All debates aside on the speculated cause but given the amount of whale and dolphin deaths off the Jersey Shore in recent months, it's a fair question to at least contemplate whether any sharks may come to our coastline.
And, what they may or may not do.
There are certain types of shark species that are prone to a shoreline explains Dr. Kenneth Able with the Rutgers University Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences but also because of seasonal migration and water temperatures.
"All of that is changing because we're having warmer temperatures due to climate change," Able said. "We might be surprised to see more sharks up here in the future."
Another reason we are and may see more sharks in Jersey waters is because of the diets that some of them have and it brings them this way.
"One of the things that's happening now, for a variety of reasons, is that Atlantic menhaden/bunker are more abundant than in previous years and they're often found near the shore," Able said.
There's yet another possible explanation to the increase in sharks off the Jersey coast in addition to climate change, warm waters, and dietary habits and it's birth.
"Some of them even come into New Jersey estuaries to pup, to have their young," Able said. "The one that comes into pup is a small shark, maximum about 4-feet or so but the pups are 1-2 feet."
These sharks who give birth usually do so in shallower waters, Dr. Able adds, and they like to eat shrimp, so nothing for you to be concerned about.
There are at least six species who are more prone to Jersey and those most likely to come and pup in shore include Sand Sharks/Smooth Dogfish and Sand Bar Sharks.
"The Smooth Dogfish is the one that's real common and pups in shore, the Sand Bar Shark -- that's a bigger shark and they will come into estuaries on the Jersey Shore and they will pup as well," Able said. "But, they're pups are almost 3-feet, so, it's a much bigger shark."
Every beach and summer season, there is always the concern about sharks in the water and whether or not they'll come close enough to attack including here in New Jersey.
Dr. Able says sharks are always around but they're seldom an issue.
"I typically tell my students, I think it's much more dangerous to drive on the New Jersey Turnpike than it is to go swimming at the beach in the summer," Able said.
One thing to watch out for that causes some confusion at the beach, Dr. Able explains, are Cownose Rays.
"When they swim near the surface, their phins -- the ends of the two phins -- stick out of the water and a lot of people confuse them with the phins of sharks," Able said.
He doesn't want to speculate on if more sharks will end up washing up or heading towards the Jersey Shore following the recent whale and dolphin deaths but expects a possible uptick in sharks over time given the warmer waters from climate change.
"The likelihood that we're going to see sharks we haven't seen before is increasing all the time," Able said.