Researchers say there is an increase in the number of larger sharks off the East coast, and that includes the Jersey shore.

"The sharks that you're seeing in the news, the sharks which are being tracked by search, are making migrations past this shore ... because they actually are responding to an increase in seals along the entire U.S. coast, especially to the north," Rutgers Marine Science Associate Professor Thomas Grothues said.

In the summer, the seals move to cold waters north of New Jersey — so sharks, starting further south, pass through the Garden State on their way to find the seals, Grothues said.

The other reason we're seeing more sharks in our waters? Better tracking means we're simply more aware of them, Grothues said.

Grothues said although the Great Whites that show up along New Jersey's coast are only passing by, there is a cautionary for those in the surf.

"In general it's always worth being aware," he said. Shark encounters are rare, but there's always a chance a Great White with an aggressive personality could consider biting someone.

He advises any swimmer who encounters a shark to stay calm and leave the area without making a big splash.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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