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Researchers caution beachgoers ahead of white shark season

Researchers warn beachgoers about white shark season

On August 13, 2021, a shark is seen swimming across a sandbar from a shark guard with Dragonfly Sportfishing charters, off the coast of Massachusetts near Cape Cod. Megan Winton, of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, said on Wednesday, June 29, 2022, that white sharks appear in earnest in July, with sightings peaking from August to October. Credit: AP Photo/Phil Marcelo, File

Great white shark researchers on Cape Cod remind visitors that warmer weather not only signals the start of the busy tourist season, but also the arrival of the region’s famous predators.

July is usually when great whites show up in earnest as the cape’s waters warm, with sightings peaking from August through October, said Megan Winton, a scientist with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, during a news conference at the organization’s office in Chatham on Wednesday.

“Just know there are big sharks out there,” she said. “They are constantly present from June to the fall.”

A great white sighting forced the temporary closure from Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro on Tuesday.

Greg Skomal, a state marine biologist who has studied the region’s great whites for decades, said the animals still tend to be concentrated on the Atlantic-facing side of the cape, where they feed on a thriving seal population. .

He advised beachgoers to be very vigilant when swimming from beaches where the shoreline sinks quickly into deeper waters.

“Sharks will get close to shore when they have water depth,” Skomal said.

Since 2009, researchers have tagged more than 280 cape great whites, with nearly 230 of those tags still active and returning data on shark movements, the scientists said.

Skomal and Winton have spent years researching great white shark migration and hunting behaviour. They say the ongoing research has helped increase beach safety by giving both local officials and beachgoers a better understanding of where great whites tend to appear, as well as what times of the day they spend most of their time. being active.

Skomal says there has been a marked change in beachgoers’ behavior since the region witnessed two shark attacks on humans in 2018, one of which was fatal.

Many keep getting closer to shore as they swim, while others don’t venture into the water at all, he said.

“It’s a conservation success story in terms of sharks and seals,” Winton said. “At the same time, this is an important place for people to recreate, so it’s important to find ways to coexist.”


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Quote: Researchers warn beachgoers in anticipation of white shark season (June 2022, June 29) retrieved June 29, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-caution-beachgoers-white-shark-season.html

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