Local Expert Weighs In On OC Shark Beaching

Local Expert Weighs In On OC Shark Beaching
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OCEAN CITY — Local boat captain Mark Sampson, who for many years organized the Ocean City Shark Tournament and is considered the local authority on sharks, was asked Wednesday about yesterday’s shark beaching in Ocean City. The shark was about two feet in length and came ashore briefly before returning to the ocean.

“It looks like it’s a spiny dogfish. The spiny dogfish are extremely common out off of Ocean City, off the Mid-Atlantic and northeast coast, when the waters are cool,” said Sampson, who runs the Fish Finder Adventures charter and wrote “Modern Sharking” book in 2009. “We don’t have them during the warmer weather months. So most likely by the end of May they won’t in our waters again until sometime in late October. They only grow a maximum size of 3.5 feet long. If you put your finger in its mouth, the teeth would cut you but would not cut your finger off.”

Sampson said these types of sharks “are extremely abundant” and “not the same as a smooth dogfish, or what people commonly call a sand shark. They are extremely abundant.”

Due to their current heavy bite and high population in the ocean and back bays, some speculated yesterday the shark was attacked by a school of large bluefish.

“I don’t see any scars on his head from a bluefish bite,” he said. “With a shark like that, it would probably leave some lacerations around the head itself.”

Regarding the absence of an eye on the shark’s left side, Sampson said it could be a number of things and there’s no way to know for sure.

“In the ocean, there are a lot of things feeding. Who knows? It might have always been that way,” he said. “In the one profile picture I’m looking at, he just looks really skinny. Maybe that’s a result of missing an eye and he’s not able to feed as properly.”DSC_0995-150x150.jpg

Sampson added, “It’s certainly not a shark that anyone has to worry about. This particular type of shark is quite abundant.”


About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.