Shark Week begins this coming week, and the stingrays aren’t all that happy about it.
There have been an increasing number of shark sightings at New Jersey beaches over the past couple of summers, but the Asbury Park Press reports that a 22-year-old man was stung by a stingray at Island Beach State Park, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.
The Press also reported that 8 to 10 feet stingrays were sighted offshore on Wednesday between 1:30 and 2 p.m. just off the Grant Avenue and Blaine Avenue beaches in Seaside Heights.
Beach patrol captain at Seaside Park Joe Gamalca compared the stingray attack to being struck by lightning. He said the man had been fishing. Gamalca told CBS New York, “He caught a stingray and while he was trying to release it, the tail of the stingray hit him in the kneecap. He said it’s the worst pain he’s ever felt.”
According to talkdelaware.com, two people were reportedly stung by stingrays at Rehoboth Beach.
"Stingrays are one of the most peaceful creatures in the ocean, it's definitely an accident," explained Marc Kind of Camden, New Jersey’s Adventure Aquarium. Kind says you could stand next to a stingray in the water and not even know it was there. But if someone accidentally steps on a stingray, it could become defensive.
That being said, Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin died from a stingray barb in Australia back in 2006.
According to the Marine Bio Conservation Society, the southern and bluntnose stingrays, both native to New Jersey - have a serrated spine that causes painful lacerations. The man at Island Beach Park was said to be stung by a bluntnose.