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Find nearby sharks using this interactive tracker

If you want to know if a shark has been spotted in your area, OCEARCH has tagged some and tracks their location throughout the year.

TAMPA, Fla. — It may seem like there have been more and more shark sightings lately, and it's not just because it's Shark Week. 

This isn't like the classic movie "Jaws" and the sightings shouldn't stop you from rethinking your beach plans. We talked to shark biologist Dr. David Shiffman to get a better understanding of these sightings. 

He says part of the reason is everyone has a phone, drone, or camera and is capturing the moment.

"People used to go to the beach and see sharks and say, oh that's cool but you wouldn't call the local news and say 'I saw a fish in the ocean,'" Shiffman said. "A lot of what's happening is access to high-quality video because everyone has one of these amazing cameras."

He said now that people are seeing photos or videos of these large, potentially dangerous fish swimming so close to humans, it seems like the number of sightings has gone up. 

"Even if they're not bothering people at all, that's a gripping image," he said.

Shiffman said as far as actual shark populations go, there are more out there than there were in the 90s. However, he said there isn't enough growth to account for the uptick in sightings. 

Long story short: There are just more people looking and taking pictures. 

If you do want to know if a shark has been spotted in your area, OCEARCH has tagged some and tracks their location through the year.

The organization's goal is to help scientists collect data in the ocean. 

 >>Use the OCEARCH Shark Tracker

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