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Study: Number of sharks and rays has plunged 70% since 1970

While you may be afraid of sharks lurking in the water, they probably should be more afraid of us.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A favorite summer tradition is coming back with a bite. It's Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, but don't let those shows scare you.

It's summer and for many of us, that means a trip to the beach. But it turns out your chance of a real-life jaws encounter actually isn't that high, because while you might fear sharks lurking in the water, they probably should be more afraid of us. 

Let's connect the dots.

Sharks may be the top predators in the ocean but their population is plummeting. 

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A study from Journal Nature found the number of sharks and rays has plunged 70% since 1970.

So why are so many sharks disappearing? The short answer is overfishing. 

Some countries have set limits or banned fishing for sharks entirely, but many have not. And it could take a long time for the shark population to rebound because they reproduce very slowly. 

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We have seen some success though. 

Cape Cod has seen a surge in sharks in recent years, as seals have also returned to the area. 

And while we may be scared of these predators, their comeback is actually a good thing. Sharks play an important role in keeping our oceans healthy and the food chain intact.

Now leaders and lifeguards are stepping up protections so swimmers don't become a snack as well.

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