Increase of great white shark sightings in North Atlantic a good thing: researcher

Click to play video: 'More shark sightings in North Atlantic: researcher' More shark sightings in North Atlantic: researcher
The population of sharks appears to be increasing in the North Atlantic. As Steve Silva reports, one researcher says that’s not a bad thing – Aug 11, 2017

The number of sightings of great white sharks in the North Atlantic have increased in about the last 10 years, and that’s a good thing, so says one shark expert in Halifax.

“[Different shark species] are critically important for our ecosystems. They have effects of controlling other large predators. For example, these large white sharks are feeding on seals,” Fred Whoriskey, executive director of Ocean Tracking Network, said on Friday.

“Rather than culling [seals], why would you not want to have the natural predators back in there and bringing that thing back into balance?”

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The uptick, which he said indicates conservation measures to increase the population of the sharks are likely working, stems from a colony of seals that originally formed on Sable Island before forming another in the Cape Cod area, attracting sharks.

READ MORE: 600 kg great white shark ‘a little too close for comfort’ in Nova Scotia

One Massachusetts group is recording more than 100 new sharks per year in the area, Whoriskey added, “which is a lot.”

Despite the increase, he said he isn’t changing his swimming and diving habits.

“There are a few sensible things to do, like, let’s not go swimming at night drunk, bleeding in the water and splashing around a whole lot. That’s the kind of thing that would actually trigger a response whereas as you do your normal activities, go to the beach on a day, not something to be concerned about,” Whoriskey said.

READ MORE: Video captures massive shark prowling off N.B. coast in Bay of Fundy

According to the International Shark Attack File, there were 84 confirmed cases of unprovoked shark attacks on humans last year worldwide.

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