Diver's Scary Great White Shark Encounter Caught on Video

With an underwater camera attached to his head, a diver captured a spooky encounter with a great white shark off the shores of Florida.

Earlier this month, the diver, Jimmy Roseman, of West Melbourne, Florida, was swimming in the murky waters around Bethel Shoal, off the coast of Vero Beach, when a great white shark approached him and kept circling back.

"In the video, it did look like it was kind of far away," Roseman told local TV station Fox 35. "But the whole time, it was about 6 to 7 [feet] (1.8 to 2.1 meters) away from me."

Roseman poked the shark with his spear gun until it left. [See the shark video]

Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), which get their name from their pale underbellies, can be found in most oceans around the globe, though they prefer to swim in temperate coastal areas. They are the largest predatory fish in the sea, sometimes growing to be longer than 20 feet (6 meters) and weighing up to 5,000 lbs. (2,268 kilograms). The creatures are known to have 300 teeth, arranged in up to seven rows.

Shark attacks on humans are relatively uncommon and are very rarely fatal. Last year, 72 unprovoked shark attacks were reported worldwide, and 10 of those were deadly, according to the International Shark Attack File, compiled by biologists at the University of Florida (UF). Forty-seven of those attacks occurred off U.S. shores, with eight reported in Florida's Volusia County, a hotspot for shark attacks. There was just one shark-related death in the United States in 2013, in Hawaii.

The number of shark attacks around the world has climbed since 1900, but this likely reflects the increasing amount of time humans spend in the sea, boosting the chances of such encounters, UF researchers said.

Shark attacks inevitably get more attention than the conservation problems the big fish face. Though illegal fishing makes it difficult to assess the total number of shark deaths, a study last year estimates that humans kill 100 million sharks annually, largely to feed an appetite for shark fin soup.

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Megan Gannon
Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.