Great White
A great white shark swims past a diving cage off Gansbaai about 200 kilometers east of Cape Town. Hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1970's and 1980's, the great white shark is now a protected species in many parts of the world. In South Africa, shark cage diving forms a growing business in the eco- and adventure tourism industries. REUTERS

If you are familiar with the movie Jaws, then Massachusetts and great white sharks in the same sentence might make you nervous. Sunday, two great whites were spotted nearly half of a mile away from Campground Beach in Eastham, Massachusetts, according to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, a non-profit group working with state researchers to track sharks in the region each summer.

A family grabbed video of the sharks and uploaded it to Facebook, according to the Boston Globe Monday.

A third shark was also spotted near Race Point Beach in Provincetown. A biologist and shark expert with the state Department of Marine Fisheries on Monday spotted a shark near Nauset Beach in Orleans. The researcher tagged the shark — the third this season — as part of a five-year study of great whites in and around Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The researcher nabbed the 11-foot shark and installed tracking devices on the predator.

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This is the fourth year of the five-year study, and so far researchers have tagged 109 sharks. Researchers go out two times a week looking for sharks in the summer and fall. Great white sharks come to the area for the Cape Cod grey seals on its beaches.

The sightings on Sunday add to the six others this year, including one near Wellfleet. The Globe reported Monday that the first shark tagged this season was 13 feet long, and researchers named the shark “Salacia.”

The most famous Massachusetts Great White Shark, however, is the fictional one depicted in “Jaws.” The movie, set in a fictional New England town called Amity Island, was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The fictional shark was around 25 feet long and weighed three tons. Real-life great whites typically range from 11 to 16 feet but can grow to over 20 feet, according to National Geographic.

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While the “Jaws” shark went on a blood-fueled rampage, shark attacks in real life are much less common and much less life-threatening. According to USA Today in 2015 between 2005 and 2014 roughly six people were killed per year by shark, and only one per year in the U.S. There were 98 shark attacks total worldwide in 2015, and in 2016 there were 81.