Although shark sightngs aren’t unusual in Jersey waters, the close proximity to the shore, as well as the catch and release of a large shark off Masschusetts led town officials to close Seaside beaches for a 2nd day in a row. Although it sucks that people couldn’t go in the water during the tail end of a brutal heat wave, it was the prudent thing to do. With all the beach goers unable to go in the water it probably caused them to spend more on the boardwalk anyway.
What many people probably don’t know is that shark attacks in 1916 were the inspiration for the Peter Benchley novel Jaws. [more info] The attacks lasted 12 days, 4 people died and another was seriously injured. It inspired many fisherman to head to sea to try to find and kill the shark that was responsible (though they never caught it). The hysteria caused by the event are excellently recreated in Benchleys novel, which was later made into a blockbuster movie and a shitty Universal Studios attraction.
An excellent book on the subject is Twelve Days of terror which recounts the story and really does an excellent job of setting the scene. it also features excellent analysis and investigation by the author and makes a fascinating read.