It's Shark Season On Cape Cod — Meet The Scientists Watching The Beaches

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CHATHAM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Sightings of great white sharks are on the rise already this season, and several were spotted along the Outer and Lower Cape on Tuesday.

The state and the non-profit Atlantic White Shark Conservancy are using a variety of methods of track the sharks, like floating receivers to track the sharks with acoustic telemetry, and aerial cameras.

"We see patterns in behavior that allow us to forecast where these animals are likely to be," said Dr. Greg Skomal with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

Skomal said great whites spend nearly half their time in shallow water 15 feet deep or less, and when they're that close to shore, they're probably hunting.

"There's no other reason to be in there... big animals don't like shallow waters, sandbars, and shoaling," he said.

Megan Winton of the Conservancy said the research is all about assisting the public. "We're learning all this information so we can provide it to the public, so that they can modify their behavior," she said.

According to Skomal, the research has been useful for officials on the Cape, who use it to decide when to shut beaches down, and for getting a sense of how often they need to close the beach.

The Conservancy publishes an app called Sharktivity, which closely tracks where sharks have been tracked or spotted.

Shark attacks are rare, though two attacks happened on the Cape in 2018, one of them fatal. Sharks usually appear off Cape Cod off from June through the fall.

WBZ's Tim Dunn (@ConsiderMeDunn) reports:

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Written by Chaiel Schaffel

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