Chatham, MASS. (WBZ NewsRadio) — As waters continue to warm up off the coast of the Cape, species of sharks that wouldn't normally be spotted are beginning to make their way to New England waters.
While it's not rare to see a white or blue shark off the coast of the Cape, fishermen and biologists have recently spotted hammerhead sharks, which is a new reality for beaches in Massachusetts.
Greg Skomal, a Fisheries Biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, said the smooth hammerhead has been spotted before and has not been implicated in attacks on humans.
“This is not the first report we’ve had, we’ve had credible reports from south of the Vineyard as well as off the Elizabeth Islands to the west," Skomal said. "So, yeah, we are seeing more hammerheads, something I've been noticing over the last couple of years.”
The flat-headed sea creatures are typically native to South American and South African waters, along with southern areas of the United States like Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
"Certainly unusual over the course of history to see hammerheads off of Cape Cod, and off Massachusetts, because it’s typically considered to be a tropical species," Skomal said.
But as temperatures rise in New England waters, the species are able to regulate their temperatures in a new region.
“It’s still an extremely warm summer here off the coast and these animals are migrating further north," Skomal said.
With the effects of climate change, Skomal believes we will likely continue to see hammerhead sharks find food sources in the rising seal population of New England.
Listen to WBZ's Jim Mackay (@JimMackayOnAir) reports.