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Shark Sightings on Cape Cod
News Bytes 07/1/2020 8 Comments

Cape Cod’s beaches and towns are a bit quieter because of the coronavirus pandemic. But officials are urging caution ahead of this weekend’s July Fourth holiday. After all, the famous Massachusetts destination is still a popular getaway for other summertime travelers: great white sharks.

Great whites are one of God’s most amazing and powerful creatures. They are notable for their size (between 11 and 20 feet long), speed (up to 16 mph), and longevity (70 years or more). These sharks are common in the Northeastern United States, South Africa, Japan, Chile, Oceania, and the Mediterranean Sea.

Cape Cod National Seashore Chief Ranger Leslie Reynolds warns that the powerful predators have recently been coming close enough to shore to be a concern for swimmers. Officials in nearby Orleans, Massachusetts, also have documented at least two shark attacks on seals in recent days.

Gregory Skomal, a prominent shark scientist with the state Division of Marine Fisheries, says he tagged three great whites circling a whale carcass earlier this month.

Massachusetts’ finger-shaped peninsula southeast of Boston holds an area of water known as Cape Cod Bay. The bay saw two shark attacks on humans in 2018. One of them was fatal.

Officials are currently weighing a range of responses to the shark sightings: They want to protect beachgoers and also preserve the region’s tourist economy. They have advised swimmers to remain in waist deep water where possible and avoid areas where sharks have been spotted before.

Great whites have been coming to Cape Cod Bay in greater numbers each summer. The animals prey on the region’s large seal colonies. Most tend to favor the Atlantic Ocean-facing beaches—the ones where seals tend to congregate. But researchers have found them off nearly every part of the area, known locally as “the Cape.”

Local residents concerned about the booming shark population, meanwhile, say they’ll boost their efforts to help protect swimmers this summer.

More pilots have volunteered to radio in shark sightings as they fly over the peninsula, says Heather Doyle. She is co-founder of Cape Cod Ocean Community, a local group that advocates for white shark surveillance and detection measures.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, a Chatham-based research group, is also offering its Sharktivity smartphone app. The app allows users to report and track shark sightings.

Have you ever seen a shark outside of an aquarium?

(A woman walks her dogs at Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, where a boogie boarder was bitten by a shark in 2018 and later died of his injuries. AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

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Most recent comments


Woah! that is scarrrry! I would not go in that water at all! We go to a place every year at the end of August, and this woman who was fishing accidentally caught (no joke) a small (it was probably a juvenile) HAMMERHEAD SHARK! It was so funny! She put it back in the water though, which was probably the right thing to do.


New articles!

This is London

ik new articles yay and this is scary.i hate sharks but I have never been to cape cod

I live (roughly) at the edge

I live (roughly) at the edge of North Carolina, maybe an hour and a half away from Myrtle beach, so I've never been to Cape Cod. I've never seen a shark before, though we did once see a group of dolphins, and last time we went to Myrtle beach there were Portuguese Man of Wars EVERYWHERE.

Yikes! I wouldn't swim there

Yikes! I wouldn't swim there at all!

This is Mylee

Porter e. Yikes I have never seen a man of war before!i haven’t seen a shark before except in aquariums. They are super scary.hopefully no one gets hurt.

I hope they are going to

I hope they are going to treat the sharks well. I'm sorry to hear that they are attacking humans, but in the past I've also been sorry to hear how humans have treated sharks. There needs to be safety for everyone, sharks included.

@ London S

Yeah, I'd never seen them before that either. There was even a super big one swimming about fifteen feet away. We got out and mom said it looked like a blue weave (which I found out was for people with not as much hair as they would like so they weave fake hair into their remaining hair to make it look thicker) and she looked it up and found out that was actually what a man of war looked like while it was swimming. My dad said that a man of war that big would have tentacles swimming around our ankles. I kept a sharp eye out after that!

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