Shark sightings along East Coast have experts, beachgoers talking

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (WPVI) -- The video has been making the rounds on social media: a great white shark making a snack out of a fishing boat's chum bag off the coast of Manasquan, N.J.

"The shark came in through the whole trail of bait that we threw in and he went straight for the source," said Jeff Crilly.

Crilly took the video as he and his friends were heading in from a fishing tournament around 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Experts have confirmed that this indeed was a great white shark - a protected species. We spoke with New Jersey-based coastal ecologist Dr. Amy Williams about the sighting.

"It's really great that they're up here. It means our waters are healthy. So we may have a bigger population because of healthier waters but it's not something extreme that we should be scared about," said Williams, who is also a Coastal Ecosystems Extension Agent for the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium.

This hasn't been the only shark in the news recently.

In the past month, three shark bites have been reported in North Carolina. Paige Winter, 17, lost her leg.

"My body went into shock so I couldn't really feel anything. I just knew it was bad," said Winter.

But here in Atlantic City, officials say shark sightings at the beaches are rare.

"I've been doing this 25 plus years and I've seen two sharks ever. I've lived on this beach my entire life. And I've seen two total," said Atlantic City Beach Patrol Chief Steve Downey.

Folks at the beach say while it's cool to see the video of a great white, they're not worried.

"I've gone down to Florida and down in the southern states, there's a little bit more of a chance you might see them. I've seen dolphins up here. But not sharks," said Roy Schult from Lake George, N.Y.

The Atlantic City Beach Patrol Chief says the lifeguards are always looking out for Marine life hazards - but they say it's mostly jellyfish or a porpoise.
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