Cape Cod issues great white shark warning ahead of 4 July holiday | Environment

Cape Cod’s beaches and towns may be quieter because of the coronavirus pandemic, but officials are reminding visitors ahead of the 4 July holiday that the famous Massachusetts destination remains a popular getaway for other summertime travellers: great white sharks.

Great whites have been coming to the Cape in greater numbers each summer to prey on the region’s large seal colonies. Most tend to favour the Atlantic ocean-facing beaches where seals tend to congregate, but researchers have found them off nearly every part of the Cape.

At a news conference, Leslie Reynolds, the chief ranger with Cape Cod National Seashore, warned the powerful predators were coming close enough to shore to be a concern for swimmers.

Officials in the town of Orleans have documented at least two shark attacks on seals in recent days, the Cape Cod Times reported.

Gregory Skomal, a prominent shark scientist with the state Division of Marine Fisheries, said he tagged three great whites circling a whale carcass earlier this month as his research team began its work for the season.

The peninsula south-east of Boston saw two shark attacks on humans in 2018, one of them fatal. Officials have recommended swimmers remain in waist-deep water where possible and avoid areas where sharks have been previously spotted while they weigh a range of responses to protect beachgoers and preserve the region’s tourist economy.

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, said Heather Doyle, 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, which allows users to report and track shark sightings.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/30/cape-cod-issues-great-white-shark-warning-ahead-of-4-july-holiday

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