MA - Cape Cod shark researchers tag more great whites: ‘Field season is still going strong’
While the unofficial end of summer approaches, Cape Cod shark researchers continue to tag great whites as many of the apex predators are detected close to shore.
Great white shark expert Greg Skomal, a marine biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, has tagged hundreds of sharks over the last decade-plus. Skomal added two more tagged sharks to the logbook earlier this week.
“On Monday (8/28), @GregSkomal of the @MassDMF working with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy was able to tag two white sharks off of Cape Cod,” the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy tweeted.
“As the summer season starts to wind down, field season is still going strong!” AWSC added.
On Monday, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Sharktivity app had two shark sightings close to shore off of Chatham’s Monomoy Island, a great white hotspot this time of year.
“Shark spotted in the cove, approximately 1/2 mile offshore,” reads one of the shark sightings.
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This is peak shark season along the Cape, as great whites hunt for seals close to shore.
Local shark researchers over the last decade-plus have tagged more than 300 great whites. The scientists estimate that 800 to 900 individual sharks have visited the Cape’s waters in a recent 5-year period — making the Cape one of the largest and potentially densest area for great whites in the world.
Meanwhile, the New England Aquarium’s aerial survey team has wrapped up its summer season. From June through August, the aerial survey team flew 13 surveys in southern New England, totaling 78.6 hours in the air.
In total, researchers spotted 8,621 whales and dolphins, some of which were likely seen on multiple surveys. This total includes 254 fin whales (including two calves), 341 humpback whales (including 10 calves), 75 minke whales, 5,967 common dolphins, and 1,349 bottlenose dolphins.
The scientists spotted five groups of lunge-feeding fin whales and 56 groups of bubble-feeding humpback whales — as well as breaching whales, leaping dolphins, and flocks of birds all feeding among schools of tuna.
A hammerhead shark was recently spotted far off the Cape Cod coast during a New England Aquarium aerial survey of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, the only marine national monument in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean.