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Great White Shark Circles Men in Boat for Nearly 10 Minutes Before Leaving [VIDEO]

Jun 13, 2013 01:36 PM EDT

A shark siting was reported at Jersey Shore this past Sunday by three fishermen who caught a video of a great white as it circled their boat some 30 miles southeast of Atlantic City.

The men estimated the shark to be half the size of their 28-foot boat as it hung around for roughly 10 minutes, at one point grabbing the boat with its teeth, the Associated Press reported.

“It came up, just grabbed the boat, saw it wasn’t edible, went back down,” Rob Pompilio, the owner of the boat, told NBC10.

The fisherman described the experience as “unspeakable,” and “like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”

Mark Long, who said his favorite movie is “Jaws,” was quick to record the encounter on its phone.

“The teeth were huge,” Long said.

Ultimately, the shark appeared more curious than aggressive, the fishermen said, though Pompilio admitted it was “a little uncomfortable” when the creature stuck its head above the water.

Bob Schoelkopf, the founder of Brigantine’s Marine Mammal Stranding Center, says great white sightings have become more common off the coast in recent years due to an increase in the number of seals, one its main prey.

In 2012, WABC reported two instances, both of which took place in August, in which Jersey shore beachgoers reported seeing sharks within 50 yards of the beach.

When it comes to keeping oneself safe, Shoelkopf said, it’s important to be aware of one’s surroundings.

“You should keep an eye out,” he told NBC10. “If you see fins in the water, common sense should tell you to get out of the water.”

However, as National Geographic explains, the image of the legendary great white as a mindless killing machine is beginning to fade as more scientific research is done on the animal. And while it’s true that the creature is responsible for as much as 50 percent of the 100-plus annual shark attacks worldwide, most of these are not fatal but, as studies are showing, due largely to their naturally curious nature. “Sample biting,” as its been termed, is just one way the shark observes his surroundings, much like babies.

“It’s not a terribly comforting distinction,” the nature news outlet writes, “but it does indicate that humans are not actually on the great white’s menu.”

Found in cool, coastal waters throughout the world, there is no reliable estimate on the number of great whites left, though scientists agree that their numbers are likely decreasing significantly due to overfishing and accidental catching in gill nets, among other factors, and are listed as an endangered species.

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