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
Tropical forests globally are being lost at a rate of 61,000 square miles a year. And despite conservation efforts, the global rate of loss is accelerating. In 2016 it reached a 15-year high, with 114,000 square miles cleared.
At the same time, many countries are pledging to restore large swaths of forests. The Bonn Challenge, a global initiative launched in 2011, calls for national commitments to restore 580,000 square miles of the world's deforested and degraded land by 2020. In 2014 the New York Declaration on Forests increased this goal to 1.35 million square miles, an area about twice the size of Alaska, by 2030.
By Cheryl Leahy
Do you think almond milk comes from a cow named Almond? Or that almonds lactate? The dairy industry thinks you do, and that's what it's telling the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
For years, the dairy industry has been flexing its lobbying muscle, pressuring states and the federal government to restrict plant-based companies from using terms like "milk" on their labels, citing consumer confusion.
By Jeremy Deaton
A driver planning to make the trek from Denver to Salt Lake City can look forward to an eight-hour trip across some of the most beautiful parts of the country, long stretches with nary a town in sight. The fastest route would take her along I-80 through southern Wyoming. For 300 miles between Laramie and Evanston, she would see, according to a rough estimate, no fewer than 40 gas stations where she could fuel up her car. But if she were driving an electric vehicle, she would see just four charging stations where she could recharge her battery.
Fire Continues at Texas Petrochemical Plant as Company's History of Violations Gets Renewed Scrutiny
By Andrea Germanos
A petrochemical plant near Houston continued to burn for a second day on Monday, raising questions about the quality and safety of the air.
The Deer Park facility is owned by Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC), which said the fire broke out at roughly 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Seven tanks are involved, the company said, and they contain naptha, xylene, "gas blend stocks" and "base oil."
"It's going to have to burn out at the tank," Ray Russell, communications officer for Channel Industries Mutual Aid, which is aiding the response effort, said at a news conference. It could take "probably two days" for that to happen, he added.
The hillsides dyed orange with poppies may look like something out of a dream, but for the Southern California town of Lake Elsinore, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
The town of 66,000 people was inundated with around 50,000 tourists coming to snap pictures of the golden poppies growing in Walker Canyon as part of a superbloom of wildfires caused by an unusually wet winter, BBC News reported. The visitors trampled flowers and caused hours of traffic, The Guardian reported.
A controversial pesticide test that would have resulted in the deaths of 36 beagles has been stopped, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the company behind the test announced Monday. The announcement comes less than a week after HSUS made the test public when it released the results of an investigation into animal testing at Charles River Laboratories in Michigan.
"We have immediately ended the study that was the subject of attention last week and will make every effort to rehome the animals that were part of the study," Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDupont, said in a statement announcing its decision.