— -- Hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to visit beaches this Labor Day weekend, but the holiday comes amid an increase in shark sightings.
Biologists have spotted numerous great whites along the Atlantic coast this summer, including 23 great whites in a 10-mile stretch off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts Monday.
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Director Greg Skomal attributed the increased shark sightings to seal populations, which have been growing for decades – bringing the sharks further north, and closer to the shore, in search of food.
“Seals are riding along the shoreline, which of course draws the sharks in very, very close,” Skomal said.
“We’ve already seen as many sharks this year as we did last year,” he said, with more than a month to go in the monitoring period.
The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, a nonprofit that raises awareness of the sharks and focuses on research and safety efforts, recently captured video showing a hungry great white leaping out of the water off of Cape Cod, trying to catch a seal.
More than 35 million Americans are expected to travel this Labor Day weekend, according to AAA Travel -– the highest travel volume since 2008. The uptick is attributed in large part to falling gas prices.