PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A shark expert from the University of New England says he thinks the number of great white sharks is increasing off the coast of Maine.
James Sulikowski, who travels extensively studying sharks, made the assessment after watching the video a lobsterman took Tuesday of a shark feeding on a whale carcass five miles off Boothbay Harbor.
‘‘Oh my God, that’s a white shark,’’ he said after watching the video made by lobsterman Ryan Casey.
The great white shark, the largest predatory fish in the world, has a distinctive way of raising its head and then letting the upper jaw drop onto its food, reflecting the larger, longer teeth of the species, Sulikowski said.
Sulikowski said the video taken off Boothbay Harbor suggests the white shark is expanding its range north into Maine waters.
‘‘I would be highly surprised if this was an isolated incident. ... Honestly, it’s only a matter of time before we get a larger white population,’’ he told the Portland Press Herald. (http://bit.ly/1egJO1u) ‘‘They’re coming for food and we have a healthy seal population.’’
The warming of waters in the Gulf of Maine has led to more shark activity earlier in the year as they chase food moving closer to the coast, Sulikowski said.
Despite their reputation, great white shark attacks on humans are extremely rare, he said.
‘‘You have a much greater chance of dying by getting hit by a toilet seat in a freak accident, struck by lightning, you name it, than being attacked and eaten by a shark,’’ Sulikowski said.
Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com