Popular tourist attraction Cape Cop has become one of the world’s newest great white shark hotspots, with a fleet of terrifying predators reported at the East Coast vacation spot in recent years.
A landmark study that monitored the coastline from 2015 to 2018 found a staggering 800 great white sharks visited the waters.
More recent conclusive data is not available, and the study is the first-ever estimate of white sharks in the North Atlantic Ocean, but at least seven great whites were hiding off the popular beach Friday morning, according to the Ocearch Shark Tracker.
The researchers found that shark numbers had increased over the years of study, indicating that the East Coast may be seeing an increase. The project, which was published Thursday in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, concluded that “Cape Cod is among the largest white shark hotspots in the world.”
The warmer months are also much more likely to see shark sightings due to rising ocean temperatures, the study found, with a terrifying 400-pound great white caught stalking the East Coast there. just a few weeks ago.
A landmark study has revealed that the Cape Cod tourist attraction (pictured) is one of the world’s great white shark hotspots
The landmark study was led by scientists from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, the School for Marine Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.
The sharks have been monitored using a “mark-recapture” method, where predators are uniquely marked to allow researchers to tell them apart, thereby estimating population size.
According Phys.Orgthis method may not see scientists physically marking sharks as many have distinctive markings and notches on their dorsal fins.
A catalog of nearly 3,000 videos collected during 137 research trips to the Cape Cod coast was used to conduct the study, identifying 393 individual white sharks.
Megan Winton, the study’s lead author, said last month during a National Geographic series that the research was “good news from a conservation perspective.”
“By comparing the number of previously identified individuals to new individuals encountered over time, we were able to estimate the number of sharks visiting the site each month of the survey, as well as the total for the four-year period,” said said Winton. .
Although sharks rarely stay in one place for long, Greg Skomal, who directs the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries’ shark research program, said Cape Cod’s seal population could be an added draw.
“Their movements are very dynamic, they come and go,” Skomal said. “Some white sharks simply stop on their way north while others spend more time along the Cape, probably because they manage to feed on seals.”
Researchers found shark sightings increased from 2015 to 2018, suggesting the East Coast may have continued to see an increase in recent years
At least seven terrifying great whites were hiding off Cape Cod (pictured) on Friday morning, according to Ocearch Shark Tracker
In recent months there have been numerous reports of shark attacks on the east coast, with a 15-year-old attacked off Fire Island in New York over the July 4 holiday weekend.
At the same time the previous year, the same location, which is about 200 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, saw six attacks in three weeks.
And a notorious 395-pound shark named Jekyll was spotted off the coast of Maine in late June, raising fears it too may have struck over the holiday weekend.
Jekyll the shark, which was named after being tagged off Jekyll Island in Georgia, has been traveling north since December last year and was last seen off the coast of Maine.
As the wave of shark attacks sparks fear among the public, shark experts have revealed what people should do if they come face to face with the predators.
To even avoid interacting with them, marine biologists suggest looking for any unusual fish activity, such as a number of small to medium-sized fish jumping out of the water, which may indicate a shark is nearby. .
Swimmers and beachgoers should also avoid areas where people fish, deep channels between the shore and sandbars further out, and estuaries – which are favored by bull sharks.
“A very large number of attacks happen at the mouths of rivers, where there is silt and other suspended matter in the river – people are washing their clothes, people are washing themselves”, Richard Peirce, former Chairman of Shark Trust and Shark Conservation Society, based in the UK. suggested to CBS News.
Marine biologist Ryan Johnson said the most important thing is not to panic if you come face to face with predators
According to marine biologist Ryan Johnson, the most important thing to do if you find yourself near a shark is not to panic.
“If you encounter a shark while in the water, the worst thing you can do is act like prey,” he told the daily star.
If you act like prey, they may treat you like prey. Don’t panic, don’t struggle, don’t try to escape,” he urged.
Instead, Johnson said, “you should hang in there, and 99.9% of the time you’ll have a wonderful time, and then it just goes on its way.”
“The truth is that when you’re in the water, if you’re in a healthy marine ecosystem…you’re often never more than 100 meters from a shark,” said Jeff Corwin, American biologist and conservationist. wildlife.
“We often interact with these species, and we don’t even know what to do about it.”