The number of great white sharks may be increasing in the Gulf of Maine.

That’s because population management of both the sharks and their main food, seals, means that there are a lot more of both than there once were — so populations are spreading.

[5 times great white sharks were found in Maine waters]

New research by the University of New England and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries will tag sharks and record when they pass by certain coastal locations, as well as use satellites to keep track of some in the shark population.

“We’ll know movement data on the satellite tags by the end of this season,” says researcher James Sulikowski, a professor of marine science at the University of New England.

[Experts expect great white shark sightings to increase in Maine]

Sulikowski says, in spite of the fear many people have of great white sharks, attacks are very rare. And, he says, more sharks mean a healthier ocean.

“Sharks are a species that will seek out the weak, the dead, the dying,” he says, “so they actually make other populations stronger. And it would keep things in balance.”

[Why Mainers should hope for more great white sharks here]

Sharks are the world’s biggest predatory fish. Larger great whites can be more than 20 feet long, and weigh up to about 4,300 lbs. They live about 70 years.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.