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Great White Sharks: Cape Cod Expects Rerun of 2014 Swarm

By    |   Monday, 22 June 2015 09:16 AM

Great white sharks are expected in high numbers around Cape Cod due to warming weather and a dramatic increase in seals to eat.

Marine biologist Greg Skomal told WFXT-TV that researchers found as many as 80 great whites off Massachusetts' shores in the summer of 2014.


"Think of the great white sharks in our area like snowbirds," said Skomal. "When the water temperature drops they move to warmer climates, but they know there's good eating around here, so they often return when the water temperature warms."

Skomal said one of major attractions for great white sharks is the expansion of the grey seal population, part of their food supply. He estimated the number of grey seals around Cape Cod at 15,000 and steadily increasing.

"We've seen more and more white sharks recruit to the area each year and I anticipate that's going to continue," said Skomal.

Allan Waterfield, vice chairman of the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire, said in a recent presentation that a reduction in commercial fishing due to stock depletion and the elimination of long-line fishing may also be a cause for the great white shark increase, according to WMUR-TV.

Waterfield said the number of gill net boats in Rye Harbor alone has dropped to four or five today from as many as 20 about 20 years ago. He also pointed to fishing tournaments where sharks are under "catch and release" status and the outlawing of shark finning as contributing factors.

Shark finning is the practice of ripping the fins off sharks and selling them to the Orient for soup.

Skomal told The Daily Beast that the attitude toward sharks has also changed. Some towns see the animals as a tourist attraction.

"If anything I've noticed, among the business community of the town of Chatham, which is the epicenter of white shark activity, they've embraced these animals as a way to make money and draw people to the town," said Skomal. "Virtually every shop on Main Street is selling some kind of shark trinket or shirt, you name it. I think it's been a positive response, one of people trying to embrace these animals."

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Great white sharks are expected in high numbers around Cape Cod due to warming weather and a dramatic increase in seals to eat.
great, white, sharks, cape cod
Monday, 22 June 2015 09:16 AM
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