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Was that a great white shark near Anna Maria Island? | News

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Was that a great white shark near Anna Maria Island?

Anna Maria Island, Florida -- Swim in the waters lately along the Gulf coast? You're not alone.

Sure there's plenty of fish, dolphins, and manatees that call the water home. But some local fishermen believe they've also spotted a great white shark.

"He was very large," describes Jimmy Campbell.

Campbell says while he and his father were out fishing on Friday just three miles off the coast of Anna Maria Island, a much larger fish decided to join in on the hunt.

"He looked a little different than normal and rode over on the side and we looked at it and [we were] like, 'That's definitely a great white,'" says Campbell.

Campbell, along with his father and a few other boats nearby, all say they witnessed the 14-foot-long monster of the water.

"We realized what it was. We're used to seeing bull sharks and hammerheads," says Campbell.

Mote Marine scientist Nick Whitney is not so sure.

"It's so slender," notes Whitney as he examines a photo that Campbell snapped.

"It's unusual. Makos are much more common, so you assume it's a mako before you know," says Whitney, who has spent more than 15 years studying sharks.

Whitney says the mako and great whites are in the same shark family. "It's a really cool sighting to see, whether it's a mako or great white."

Whitney adds he'd need to see more video to determine what animal it really is. "I'm perfectly willing to change my opinion if there's better evidence," says Whitney.

For Campbell, he says he's sticking to what he saw and says he has the photo to prove it.

"I know it wasn't a mako. It was definitely a great white," says Campbell.

Whitney says regardless, it is unusual for either kind of shark to be so close to shore.

Video suggests great whites may stay in Gulf longer



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