Shark attack reported in Wilmington River, DNR reacts

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A reminder to all those in our coastal community: there are sharks among us and probably more than you realize.

This comes after a social media post in which a man said he’d been bitten by a shark in the Wilmington River. 

“So we know that Georgia has a pretty strong population of a variety of shark species from the Savannah River to St. Mary’s River, and they’re pretty much here from mid-April through the end of September,” said Carolyn Belcher from the Coastal Resources District which is a division of Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

“There’s tiger sharks, bull sharks and the list goes on. We’ve confirmed about 11 to 12 species with our survey,” said Belcher.  

Belcher says it’s been determined that local waters are known as nursery areas where young sharks are born and spend the first few years of their lives. She says most sharks are probably about four feet in length. 

She says the Wilmington River is brackish (meaning it has some salt water that mixes in because of its proximity to the ocean) and says it would not be surprising that a shark would be in this river or a number of others in the area.  

She does remind swimmers and boaters that sharks may be in the water especially at certain times.

“The feeding patterns of sharks tend to be at low-light times of the day so dawn and dusk are two times of day that they’re probably going to be more active around the water so be aware of the timing of your swimming activities,” said Belcher. 

Belcher also said don’t get into the water if someone around is fishing because sharks can be attracted to bait.  

“We do have healthy populations of sharks in Georgia and I think in that respect if you think about how infrequently we hear about people being bitten for the number of sharks that are here, it kind of gives you an idea on what the likelihood is, it’s fairly low that someone will be bitten,” she said.

Belcher says if anyone does encounter a shark, they should contact Georgia DNR.

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