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Great White Sharks Being Monitored Along Cape Cod National Seashore


Great white sharks have been spotted off Cape Cod National Seashore. World Wildlife Fund photo.

A Jaws redux? Not quite, but officials are monitoring some great white sharks that have been enjoying the waters off Cape Cod National Seashore.

According to the seashore's chief ranger, Bob Grant, "(T)he great white sharks that appeared off Cape Cod in past weeks and caused a flurry of media attention have not yet had any substantial impact on park operations."

"Shark experts from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries tagged two great white sharks in waters within the seashore on Tuesday, September 8th, bringing the total to five sharks tagged within the week. They then ran out of tags," reports Chief Grant. "The great white sharks were the first in the Atlantic Ocean with electronic satellite technology, according to the state biologists. Although observations have been reported over the years, multiple sightings over the last several weeks brought added attention to the area.

"The sharks have been primarily in waters at the southern end of the outer beach near Chatham. A state spotter pilot observed a great white within 50 feet of surfers just off North Beach near the Chatham Harbor channel and the barrier beach within the seashore," he adds. "Such observations have resulted in several town beaches being closed to swimming over the Labor Day weekend. A sighting near swimming beaches in Orleans, just north of Chatham, resulted in a brief closure. The sharks have come to the area due to the large number of gray seals in the local waters. Local officials have suggested surfers reconsider wearing the normal black wet suits, which make them resemble seals, and stay away from any concentration of seals. National seashore swimming areas have not been affected."

The sharks have actually helped tourism a bit, according to the Cape Cod Times.

Would-be shark gawkers circled the Lighthouse Beach overlook this morning like, well, so many sharks as they jockeyed for a coveted parking space. Buffeted by high winds, people in droves showed up again today in hopes of seeing great white sharks that were first spotted swimming and feeding in the area last week. The parking lot in front of the Chatham Lighthouse, which has a 30-minute parking limit, has been full for days.

You can find the rest of the story, and a short video, here:


since the mid 90s the seals have seemed to claim Monomoy as that time being fishermen,boater & jet skier we speed across the water, some areas less then a foot at speeds of 60 plus that time the striped bass was feared to be declining in #ers..over the flats at times we would ski over many large schools of stripe bass(proving the #ers are strong) noticeing pink spots on time went on we found & believe they were bites from seals on times(96-00) we saw large shadows close to shore under are skis in 10-15 ft of water around eastham,welfleet & turo...beliving it could have been a whale..we stopped many times and wait to see it come to the surface for air, but it never came up for air..leaving me to believe it could have abeen a large shark...about 3 years ago at the end of august by the 5 can on the back side coming in from fishing we saw at a distance a breach believing ther were a couple sunfish, as we came up on it we thought it was a real big basking shark or sea was a very large white shark as it came with in feet of the boat..the shark was so large the tail leaned to the side...we were in a 25 bertram flybride at the time..i was at the rear of the of the boat as i looked down at the missle shaped head .i felt confused weather it was a white.. i would say the shark was 20 ft or close to that as the tail was out of the water and still in front of the cabin windows...many times we see a kill and birds show have seen 2 seals w/large bites bleeding out on the shore..I feel they show up in july and leave by late september as a friend on a seal tour boat feels the same way and saw a large white take a seal from the shore line about the same time we saw the large white..he felt it was close to 20 ft also..hope this may help understand the water of chatham a little more...thanks John

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