The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Cape Cod Harbormaster Warns Beachgoers to Heed 'New Norm' of Increased Shark Presence
"The constant presence of White sharks in shallow water off of Nauset Beach in the months of August - October is the new norm," Orleans, Massachusetts Natural Resources Manager and Harbormaster Nathan Sears wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday. "It is time for beachgoers to change their behavior or something terrible is going to happen. Please be safe."
Sears' warning came after two videos showing sharks swimming off of Nauset Beach made the rounds on social media.
The most recent was posted by Julie Ryder Eitelbach Wednesday with the caption, "Rethinking that morning swim."
But Sears wrote that most beachgoers were't rethinking anything.
"Regardless of how much signage and information we provide, there still seems to be a concerning level of complacency," he wrote.
His warning comes two weeks after a man was bitten by a shark while swimming in eight feet of water off of Truro, Massachusetts, according to The Boston Globe.
And a day after his warning was posted, nearby Nauset Light Beach was closed for an hour after lifeguards spotted a shark swimming nearby, New England Cable News reported.
Great white sharks come to Cape Cod to feed on seals, which have increased in number since the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 made it illegal to hunt them.
Since the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries began counting the shark population in the region in 2014, researchers found it steadily increased, jumping from 80 when the study began to 147 in 2016.
"It is actually quite remarkable how when we put stringent measures in place to regulate fisheries that these animals are pretty resilient and they will recover," Director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History Gavin Naylor told Newsweek. "Biology, if you give it half a chance, recovers very well, and this is a great example."
While swimmers should head warnings, shark attacks are less likely than being struck by lightning, according to the International Shark Attack File. "We're still talking about probabilities that are tiny," Naylor said.
Most shark attacks are actually "test bites," scientists think, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
Marianne Long, education director of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, told The Christian Science Monitor that the Chatham Shark Center, run by her organization, fields calls from concerned residents asking for culls, or targeted killings, to lower shark populations. Long and others remind them that culls actually do more harm than good and that the sharks are a sign of a healthy ecosystem.
"Knowledge is power. And I think that there is a fear of what people don't understand," Long said.
In a post Tuesday, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy quoted some common-sense wisdom for beachgoers from the group MA Sharks.
"The sharks are close because the seals are close. Which is why we say be #SharkSmart and don't swim near seals!" the post advised.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."