An 8-foot lemon shark was caught on the Geechie Dock in Shem Creek on Aug. 17. Fortunately, swimmers and especially paddle boarders have very little to fear from sharks, according to South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) personnel.
"South Carolina averages just four or five bites per year, the vast majority of which are ‘hit and run’ bites that happen when a shark mistakes an ankle for a fish. Sharks are common in our coastal waters and millions of swimmers safely share the waters with them, because most species are exclusively interested in eating fish. Lemon sharks, in particular, are rarely, if ever, implicated in shark bites," shared Erin Weeks with the Maritime Resources Division of SCDNR.
Bryan Frazier, Marine Biologist III with SCDNR stated it is generally rare for large lemon sharks to be found in small creeks, they are summer residents in S.C., but generally stick to larger river systems.
"However, they are often found at fish cleaning stations where fishermen dispose of fish carcasses, in this instance, I would guess that they were attracted to one of these stations in Shem Creek before being captured," Frazier said.
A representative of Geechie Seafood, which is on the dock where the shark was weighed and photographed declined to give any details about the shark. Several other individuals involved declined comment.
An anonymous source told the Moultrie News that two lemon sharks were caught simultaneously at the dock. One was 8 feet and 2 inches long and the other was nearly 7 feet.
"Swimmers who want to take extra precautions can avoid swimming at dawn/dusk, alone, and/or near groups of feeding seabirds (which indicate bait fish are nearby)," Weeks added.