Swimming With Sharks: Sightings Reported on Both U.S. Coasts

VIDEO: Experts observe sharks hunting closer to shore, and to beachgoers.
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If you find yourself getting some end-of-summer rays at the beach this holiday weekend, keep your eyes peeled for iaws -- the movie theater isn't the only place sharks will be showing up.

Beachgoers and gawkers have been flooding La Jolla's shorelines in San Diego this week in hopes of catching a glimpse of a great white -- although they all seem to be looking from the sand.

"We actually rode bikes down and we're like, 'Gosh, no one's in the water," Nicole Beltran of Seattle told KGTV last week.

There have been two shark sightings in that area in seven days.

Todd Rice, a lifeguard at San Diego's Mission Beach, said he was on a paddle board shortly after noon Aug. 25 when he saw an 18-inch fin stick out of the water. He said it was a great white.

"Yeah, I was scared obviously," he told KGTV. "It's a pretty big fish."

And it's not just San Diego. In Florida this summer, two surfers were riding a wave when a shark burst out of the water. And off the coast of Rhode Island, tourist Bruce Lechleiter of Dayton, Ohio, snapped a picture of a fin near swimmers.

Where There Are Seals, There Will Be Sharks

Experts say sharks are showing up in unusual places because populations of seals -- sharks' favorite meal -- are exploding off both U.S. coasts.

Just last month, Hunter Stevens, 9, and his father Kevin caught a 6- to 7-foot-long shark while fishing in a kayak off the Galveston, Texas, coast.

"We were shocked," Kevin Stevens told ABC News. "We didn't realize how big it was."

And near Cape Cod, Mass., there have been 35 great white sightings this year.

"You always have to be a bit nervous because a seal might pop up," one boy told WCVB-TV last month. "And then a shark," added his friend.

This summer, there have been several shark attacks in the Carolinas and most of the victims have been children. In July, Lucy Mangum, 6, was with her parents and sister at Ocrakoke Beach on the Outer Banks when a shark bit her leg.

"I heard her scream so I immediately turned toward her and at that point saw the shark right next to her," her mother, Jordan Mangum, told ABC News a few days after the attack.

Deaths Caused by Sharks Down

Statistics show that unprovoked shark attacks have risen sharply in the last 110 years but fatalities are down.

"In the Malibu waters, it's like a nursery for shark," said Carter Crary, the owner of Malibu Divers. He said that a type of fishing net had been banned in California in the 1990s, making it easier for sharks to reach the shores.

"Sharks aren't that dangerous," Crary said. "You're more likely to get killed by a toaster or vending machine."

ABC News affiliates KGTV and WCVB-TV contributed to this story.

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