This is actually good news, because apex predators like great whites signal how the rest of the marine ecosystem is doing.
"If something is wrong with the largest, most powerful group in the sea, then something is wrong with the sea, so it's a relief to find they're in good shape," Burgess said, crediting U.S. regulatory agencies and their conservation measures for the shark population uptick.
Heidi Dewar, a National Marine Fisheries Service research biologist, added, "We determined there were enough animals that there was a low to very low risk of extinction and, in fact, most developments suggest an increasing population."
Burgess shared that blacktip and spinner sharks are also "doing quite well" with numbers showing that their populations "are reasonably healthy."
These sharks aren't seeking out human prey. Like all animals, they become accustomed to a particular diet. In their case, it typically includes fish, seals, sea lions and other marine mammals.
When visibility is poor, however, and someone is out splashing and kicking, it's not hard to see how a hungry shark could become confused.