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Thousands share photo of man with 16-foot shark on Outer Banks. There’s a big problem with it.

Shark sightings common along Myrtle Beach, Garden City beaches this summer

Sharks have become a common sight along Myrtle Beach and Garden City beaches during summer 2018. The sharks are often spotted swimming around the piers, but they've also been showing up in the surf — prompting beachgoers out of the water.
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Sharks have become a common sight along Myrtle Beach and Garden City beaches during summer 2018. The sharks are often spotted swimming around the piers, but they've also been showing up in the surf — prompting beachgoers out of the water.

No, a fisherman did not catch and then pose behind a 16-foot tiger shark near Jennette’s Pier on Sunday.

The photo of the striped shark stretched on the sand just near the pier in Nags Head is fake.

Alex Lex, a notorious Outer Banks Photoshopper, has more than 50,000 followers on his photography Facebook page.

Lex is responsible for images including enormous waves crashing into Jennette’s Pier, icebergs off the North Carolina coast, grizzly bears walking on the beach, Putin riding a horse shirtless alongside North Carolina’s wild mustangs, a sea turtle the size of a car near the Avalon Pier and a giant blue whale near Jennette’s Pier, among many others.

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Many of Lex’s photo illustrations feature photos of real scenes from the Outer Banks, with other, unrealistic elements added.

Not all of Lex’s photos are shared thousands of times, but many are, and the number of commenters fooled by the images often far outweighs the number of people who understand the images to be fabrications.

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The caption for the tiger shark photo reads: “8/26/2018 Massive 16 ft. tiger shark was caught and released today by a local fisherman Nags Head,NC.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, the photo had been shared nearly 4,000 times, had nearly 1,000 reactions and nearly 600 comments.

“That’s why I don’t go in the ocean,” Donna Meritt wrote.

“Nice tiger, glad he released it,” Glenn Hall wrote.

“Molly Jane, this is the shark we were swimming from,” Holly Callanan wrote.

“I’ve fished there my entire life. I’ll say with strong confidence this is BS,” Jeff Cox wrote.

“My friends fall for this person’s work all the time,” Lorraine Benton wrote.

“And just how did he get that back in the surf,” Eric Crabill wrote.

Tiger sharks are present off the North Carolina coast, though, and can grow to 25 feet and weigh 1,900 pounds, according to National Geographic.

Fishermen in Avon, North Carolina, reeled in a hammerhead shark on August 16. Footage posted to Facebook by Alisa Lapp shows the shark being pulled onto the beach as a crowd looks on.

caught and released on North Carolina beach

Researchers in North Carolina are using new robotic and laser technology to study a type of shark little is known about so far – sand tiger sharks – that hang around ship wrecks off the coast.

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