Why are we seeing more sharks at the Jersey Shore?

If you do see a shark, you can report shark sightings using apps like Sharktivity, and that helps researchers.
OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- It seems sharks are enjoying this warm weather at the Jersey Shore just like we are.

There have been several shark sightings at the shore recently, and experts say that's not surprising, especially when there are more people around to see them.

A photo was sent to our sister station Action News on Wednesday from a viewer, showing a dead shark washed up on the beach in Wildwood, New Jersey.

A few weeks ago, a 6-foot shark drew quite a crowd on 38th Street beach in Ocean City.

Action News photojournalist Mike Niklauski shot video as the anglers pulled the shark from the surf earlier this month, as people gathered to get a glimpse before the shark was released.

SEE ALSO | Close call: Video shows shark swimming dangerously close to 11-year-old girl

No sharks were spotted on 38th Street beach Wednesday, but people are on the lookout.

"I don't worry about 'em, but I'm always mindful that I'm in your backyard so you have to keep an eye out especially with the little guy in the water," said Joseph Polutro of Marlton, NJ as his son, Luca, boogie boarded nearby.

On Tuesday, Stockton University shellfish researcher Christine Thompson saw the dorsal fin and tail of a shark in Little Egg Harbor near LBI, something she says she doesn't see often.

And video from Myrtle Beach shows an 11-year-old playing in the surf as she spots a shark that's too close for comfort.

"They're always on the move and looking for food, and the warm weather is of as much interest to them as it is to us," said Professor of Marine Science Steve Nagiewicz of Stockton University.

He says it's no surprise sharks are active right now, plus there are also more people out and about this summer to spot them compared to last year.

VIDEO: Shark come terrifyingly close to 6-year-old girl at beach in Hawaii
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Terrifying video shows the moment a 6-year-old girl playing in the waters of Hawaii runs away from an approaching shark.

If you do see a shark, you can report shark sightings using apps like Sharktivity, and that helps researchers.

"What better resource than citizen scientists who are in the areas that these people are looking to collect data?" said Nagiewicz.

While seeing sharks can be unnerving, experts say it's actually a good thing, as they're a vital part of the ecosystem.

"In the ocean, if there were no sharks there would just be fish everywhere. The oceans would become a spoiled mess because there's nobody to eat them," said Nagiewicz.

While there may be a lot of sightings lately, experts say shark attacks are extremely rare.

Tips to avoid shark encounters: Swim in groups of people and avoid early morning or late evening swims - that's when sharks tend to feed.

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