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Sharks Spotted off South Jersey Shore

Sharks Spotted off South Jersey Shore
Some Jersey shore communities are on the lookout after some sharks have been spotted in shallow areas of the bays and in the ocean not far from the coastline.

Sharks have been commonly found in the area, but some people say they have been seeing more sharks this summer than ever before.

"I saw four sharks. They had to be eight to nine feet long," said Mike Bailey, of Atlantic City.

Mike Bailey said the sight of the sharks stunned him. He said Tuesday night he saw what he believes were potentially-aggressive bull sharks, similar to the picture above, in the bay by the Atlantic City home where he has lived for more than 30 years.

"I've never seen a bull shark back there. I've seen blue threshers, but never a bull shark. It's hard to believe they are bull sharks until I got a good look at them," Bailey said.

Bailey's account reflects what some anglers described as an increased number of shark sightings at the shore this summer. A 7-foot thresher shark was recently caught in the ocean off Long Beach Island.

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"You hook into something and it feels like a Mack truck," said Howard Sefton of Howard's Bait and Tackle in Egg Harbor City. Sefton had pictures of what he said were bull sharks caught locally in recent years. This year, though, he said he has heard from anglers who said they have seen many more bull sharks than usual off beaches and in back bays.

"They seem to be all over the place, just abnormally high this year," Sefton said.

Dr. Thomas Grothues with the Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences said what people may actually be seeing are the more common brown sharks. Grothues said they look a lot like bull sharks, but don't have the same reputation of biting people.

"They are abundant here, and until you look at it very carefully, you're not going to be able to tell the difference," Grothues said.

Experts said it is possible that more brown sharks are being seen this summer because changing ocean temperatures might have sent the fish they eat closer to the coast. But Grothues said he believes the risk of being attacked by a shark at the shore has not increased.

"If you haven't been concerned in the past, I don't think there's reason to get concerned about it now," Grothues said.


Author: Copyright 2006 by NBC10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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