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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Great white shark numbers are surging in the western North Atlantic after decades of decline. A new study by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists says great white abundance in the area has climbed since about 2000.

The scientists report the shark's growing numbers are due to conservation efforts and greater availability of prey. The Journal PLOS ONE published the study. It adds recent unpublished data to previously published records to create a data set of 649 confirmed white shark sightings from 1800 to 2010.

Study author Cami McCandless says the data reveal "the species appears to be recovering."

The reports says white shark abundance in the western North Atlantic collapsed in the 1970s and '80s and is now down more than 30 percent from its historical high estimate in 1961.

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