(OCEAN NEWS) MASSACHUSETTS — As summer begins, so does the arrival of great white sharks off of the coast of Cape Cod. The state tagged seven sharks last year and released a statement recently warning that two of the sharks were nearby. Although officials are not closing any beaches or restricting swimming, they are warning not to swim near seals, the main reason sharks are attracted to the area. Read on for more. — Global Animal
TIME Magazine, Melissa Locker
Cue the Jaws theme song because two great white sharks have been spotted off the coast of Cape Cod.
Just in time for the influx of summer tourists to the popular Massachusetts beach, state fisheries officials say two great white sharks that were tagged last summer off the Cape Cod coast have been detected via transmitter signals. The state tagged seven sharks last year as part of an initiative to track the animals. Now, according to WBZ-TV, audio signals from the electronic trackers worn by two of the sharks were received by the State Division of Marine Fisheries.
The sharks are attracted to the Massachusetts coast, not for the tourist attractions that dot the resort area, but for a growing seal population on Monomoy Island. The all-you-can-eat seal buffet has brought the great whites to the area in recent years. A shark researcher for the state of Massachusetts, speaking to WBZ-TV, noted that he had seen seals with shark bite markings on them as recently as Wednesday.
While officials have closed beaches or restricted swimming in the past due to shark activity, so far the sharks are not close enough to tourist-populated areas for officials to need to make that call. For tourists who want to make waves despite the warnings, shark researcher John Chisholm has some advice: “Don’t swim with the seals. That’s really all we can say. It’s their ocean.” Perhaps some civic minded individuals should organize free screenings of Jaws to remind people of the risks.