New Brunswick

Feeding sharks caught on video in Passamaquoddy Bay

So far there have been two sightings of sharks feeding on seals, encounters a St. Andrews whale watching tour company owner calls 'not normal.'

Sharks suspected to be great whites

This feeding shark was spotted in Passamoquoddy Bay off the Jolly Breeze whale-watching tour ship on Aug. 12. (John Phillips Photography/Jolly Breeze Tall Ship)

Passengers on a whale-watching cruise in Passamaquoddy Bay witnessed an unusual and exciting show of nature up close — a shark feeding on a seal.

A Quoddy Link Marine tour boat had stopped by a stretch of rocks popular with seals on its way back into Saint Andrews on Saturday when the shark attacked.

Carol Browne was on the tour and happened to be filming the seals when she caught the feeding shark on camera.

"I was looking through my camera, so I saw the splash, and I actually thought that the bigger seal had jumped into the water, until I saw it wasn't that at all," Browne said.

This is the second time a shark has been caught on camera attacking a seal in Passamaquoddy Bay in less than two weeks. 0:25

Browne said she had asked about sharks earlier on the tour but never expected to see one.

"Everybody on the boat was just completely amazed that we actually got to see something like that, just so close."

Catching a glimpse of a feeding shark isn't unheard of in Passamaquoddy Bay, but it's definitely not the norm, said Lisa Eldridge, owner of Quoddy Link Marine.

Eldridge said the area is between Campobello and Deer Island and is a popular spot for pleasure boaters and kayakers because of the large population of seals in the area.

"There's always been sharks in the Bay," she said. "We're just for some reason seeing a little more activity at the surface than we've had before."

This is actually the second sighting of a shark in the area this year. Eldridge said another whale-watching company saw a similar sight two weeks ago.

A shark has been feeding on seals off Saint Andrews and whale watchers have been catching it on camera. 0:10

That attack was caught on video by a six-year old passenger on the Jolly Breeze ship on Aug. 12.

Eldridge wasn't on the boat to witness the attack on Saturday, but her husband was captaining the ship.

"He said there's a lot of thrashing, there was a lot of blood. You know, the kind of thing that you would expect."

Most likely a great white

The species has not yet been confirmed, but University of New Brunswick biologist Steven Turnbull suspects it could be a great white because of its size.

Turnbull said he could tell the animal in the video is not a porbeagle shark, because they only reach about seven feet, or about two metres, in length, while passengers on the boat said the shark they saw was about 10 feet, or about three metres.

It also is unlikely the shark is a shortfin mako.

"We haven't seen a mako of that size in the bay for eons."

The sharks are suspected to be great whites. (John Phillips Photography/Jolly Breeze Tall Ship)

Turnbull said great whites are more common in the bay than people realize, but it is uncommon to see them.

"If they see them they should consider themselves very, very lucky to actually get a chance to see something that incredible."

He said more sharks may be visiting the area this summer, because of a growing seal population.

A video of a shark catching a seal in Passamaquoddy Bay is drawing people's attention on social media. UNB biologist Steve Turnbull said there may be more sharks visiting the area this summer, because of a growing seal population. But he said people shouldn't worry about being in danger. 8:50

"The marine mammal population is increasing all along the New England coastline because of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the states," he said.

"The sharks are basically following along with them."

But he added, people shouldn't worry about being in any danger. 

"It's not like a Discovery Channel show, where they show sharks attacking every single thing in the water."

With files from Shift

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