Researchers spotted 17 Great White Sharks during a single research trip last week. That’s about double the number spotted by researchers at the same time last year.
Scientists at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy say that points to a likely increase in the shark population in the area. Though they say they’ve only been monitoring Great White activity in the area since 2009. They’ve also conducted more research trips this year. A population boom in grey seals, a food source for the sharks, maybe contributing to the increase in Great Whites.
Conservancy director Cynthia Wigren says the sharks are incredibly valuable to the local marine ecology.
“The Great White Shark is an apex predator, so it plays an important role in the marine ecosystem, keeping things in balance,” said Wigren. So for that reason it’s an important species to protect.
The Great White is not endangered, but is illegal to hunt in the U.S.
Wigren added that monitoring the population is important because the waters are heavily trafficked by humans.
“There are people sharing the same waters here close to shore, where White Sharks are moving, the best thing that we can do is increase our knowledge of the species to help improve public safety.”
Wigren said while the Great White can certainly be dangerous to humans, statistically the likelihood is extremely low. There are about 5 fatal attacks worldwide each year.
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