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Shark sightings increasing, but are there more sharks? 5 Investigates

September 5, 2019


TO DRILL DOWN INTO THE MEANING
BEHIND THE NUMBERS. A GREAT WHITE SHARK IN CAPE COD
BAY TUESDAY, FEEDING OFF A DEAD
WHAL
DRONE VIDEO CAPTURES A GREAT
WHITE OFF NEWCOMB HOLLOW BEACH
IN WELLFLEET LAST FRIDAY. THE BLACK FLAG FLIES SIGNALING A
RECENT SIGHTING AND THE BEACH IS
CLOSED FOR SWIMMIN
HOURS LATER, A SHARK IS SEEN
ATTACKING A SEAL NEAR NAUSET
BEACH IN ORLEANS. THESE ARE COMMON SCENES
UNFOLDING AGAIN AND AGAIN ON
CAPE COD THIS SUMMER. DR. SKOMAL: SO IT’S BEEN A VERY
BUSY SUMMER. MIKE: DR. GREG SKOMAL IS A SHARK
BIOLOGIST WHO WORKS FOR THE
STATE’S DIVISION OF MARINE
FISHERIES. HERE HE IS DODGING A GREAT WHITE
OFF THE CAPE LAST SUMMER WHILE
TRYING TO TAG IT. DR. SKOMAL: YOU KNOW, YOU’RE
SEEING A LOT OF NOTIFICATIONS, A
LOT OF BEACH CLOSURES, BECAUSE
PEOPLE ARE PAYING ATTENTION. AND SO THAT’S A GOOD THING. MIKE: SHARK SIGHTINGS ARE WAY
UP. DATA WE OBTAINED FROM THE
ATLANTIC WHITE SHARK CONSERVANCY
SHOWS 376 SIGHTINGS SINCE JUNE
AND COUNTING. COMPARE THAT TO LAST SUMMER WH
THERE WERE 236 SIGHTINGS FROM
JUNE THROUGH AUGUST. THAT’S A 60% INCREASE, SO FAR. ARE THERE REALLY MORE SHARKS OUT
THERE OR ARE WE JUST PAYING MORE
ATTENTION? DR. SKOMAL: I THINK IT’S A
COMBINATION OF BOTH. WE CERTAINLY ARE, WE REALLY ARE
PAYING MORE ATTENTION AND A LOT
MORE PEOPLE ARE WATCHING. WE HAVE MORE PLANES IN THE AIR
PAYING ATTENTION, WE HAVE DRONES
IN THE AIR. BUT ALSO I KNOW THAT JULY WAS A
MUCH STRONGER MONTH THAN WE’VE
SEEN IN PREVIOUS YEARS. WE’VE TAGGED, OVER THE COURSE OF
THE LAST MONTH AND A HALF, 22
WHITE SHARKS, WHICH IS MORE THAN
WE’VE EVER TAGGED AT THIS TIME
IN PREVIOUS YEARS. MIKE: OUR ANALYSIS OF THE DATA
ALSO SHOWS A CLEAR TREND SHARK
SIGHTINGS ARE INCREASING EVERY
SUMMER. FROM A TOTAL OF 168 DURING THE
SUMMER OF 2016 TO 215 IN 2017. AND IT’S ONLY GONE UP FROM
THERE. IS IT POSSIBLE IT’S THE SAME
SHARK THAT’S TRIGGERING MULTIPLE
SIGHTINGS, MULTIPLE BEACH
CLOSINGS? DR. SKOMAL: YOU BRING UP A
REALLY EXCELLENT POINT. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT SIGHTINGS,
IT’S KIND OF A GENERIC TERM. IF A SPOTTER PILOT SEES 20
SHARKS IN A DAY, HE COULD BE
SEEING THE SAME SHARK 20 TIMES,

MIKE: BUT THERE’S NO DENYING THE
SHARKS ARE IN THE OCEAN OFF THE CAPE, LOOKING TO FEED ON THE
GROWING SEAL POPULATION. AND THAT MAKES PEOPLE LIKE
SKOMAL NERVOUS, ESPECIALLY WHEN
THERE ARE SURFERS IN THE WATER. DR. SKOMAL: WELL, I THINK ALL OF
US ARE WARY ABOUT THE POTENTIAL
FOR A NEGATIVE INTERACTI
BETWEEN A SHARK AND A PERSON. MIKE: NEXT MONTH MARKS ONE YEAR
SINCE 26-YEAR-OLD ARTHUR MEDICI
WAS KILLED AFTER ENCOUNTERING A
SHARK WHILE BOOGIE BOARDING AT
NEWCOMB HOLLOW BEACH.>>WITH LABOR DAY APPROACHING WE
TEND TO THINK WITH KIDS GOING
BACK TO SCHOOL, THINGS ARE
SHUTTING DOWN ON CAPE COD AND IN
MANY RESPECTS THEY ARE BUT THERE
IS STILL PLENTY OF SHARKS FEEDING. WITH PEOPLE GOING IN THE WATER
THROUGH SEPTEMBER AND INTO
OCTOBER, I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT
THAT THEY KNOW THAT THE SHARKS
ARE STILL THERE. MIKE: RESULTS FROM A STUDY
LOOKING AT WAYS TO RESPOND TO
CAPE’S GROWING SHARK POPULATION
ARE EXPECTED IN THE COMING
WEEKS. SKOMAL SAYS HE’S KEEPING AN OPEN
MIND WHILE ALSO FOCUSING ON HIS
RESEARCH WHICH IS AIMED AT
FIGURING OUT WHERE, WHEN, AND
HOW SHARKS ATTACK SEALS ON CAPE
COD. THE GOAL? USING THAT INFORMATION TO ADVISE
THE PUBLIC ABOUT WHERE SHARKS
ARE MORE LIKELY TO GO AFTER
PEOPLE. MIKE BEAUDET, 5 INVE

2 Comments

  • Reply Bobofet241 August 28, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Lol it's the Ocean they live there!

  • Reply Bobofet241 August 29, 2019 at 1:00 am

    More Sharks? Birds do it,Bees do it,even educated Fleas do it,let Sharks fall in love! 😁

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