Sharks of North Carolina Infographic: Some Research notes on the Sharks of North Carolina by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The blacknose and Atlantic sharpenose are some of the most common shark species observed by UNC Researchers. Blacknose shark averages 8.3 feet and the Atlantic sharpnose shark averages 2.4 feet. Sharks have been on Earth over 400 million year. 50 different shark species can be found in North Carolina waters. Large sharks in North Carolina are down by 50% since the 1970s. Commercial and recreational fishing have contributed to decreasing shark populations. In the past 45 years, UNC has surveyed approximately 7,000 sharks; the average shark studies is 3 feet long. The UNC institute of Marine Sciences has studies sharks in North Carolina waters since 1972, making it the longest running shark research program in the nation. To learn more about shark research in North Carolina, visit imc dot unc dot edu.