Quantcast

Cape Cod Harbormaster Warns Beachgoers to Heed 'New Norm' of Increased Shark Presence

Animals
A great white shark. Terry Goss / CC BY-SA 3.0

A Cape Cod area harbormaster had strong words for beachgoers, urging them to be more cautious as the number of great white sharks swimming close to shore increases, The Boston Globe reported.


"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.

While an increased shark presence might be inconvenient for swimmers, however, some researchers say it is actually a sign of a conservation success story, Newsweek 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

By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans

Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.

Read More Show Less

While airlines only serve bottled drinking water directly to customers, they use the plane's water for coffee and tea, and passengers can drink the tap water. Aitor Diago / Getty Images

You might want to think twice before washing your hands in an airplane bathroom.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Individual standing in Hurricane Harvey flooding and damage. Jill Carlson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis

Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.

Read More Show Less
A pregnant woman works out in front of the skyline of London. SHansche / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Read More Show Less

Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Ten feet of water flooded 20 percent of this Minot, North Dakota neighborhood in June 2011. DVIDSHUB / CC BY 2.0

By Jared Brey

When Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle last October, it killed at least 43 people, caused an estimated $25 billion in damage and destroyed thousands of homes.

Read More Show Less
A protestor holds up her hand covered with fake oil during a demonstration on the U.C. Berkeley campus in May 2010. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.

Read More Show Less
Forest fire continues to blaze in Indonesesia on Sept. 18. WAHYUDI / AFP / Getty Images

Nearly 200 people have been arrested in Indonesia over their possible connections to the massive wildfires raging in the nation's forest, officials said this week.

Read More Show Less