Study: White Sharks Off Cape Spend Almost Half Their Time In Shallow Water


CAPE COD, Mass. (WBZ News Radio) — The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy has released a new study on residency patterns and hunting behavior of white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod.

The study was published in journal Wildlife Research. Lead author Megan Winton said they found sharks tend to alternate between the surf zone and deeper water.

“We looked at a bunch of different things but the big takeaway is that sharks spent almost half of their time at waters shallower than 15 feet when they’re here; when they’re off of Cape Cod,” Winton said.

Winton said the research will be used to improve information for the public and safety officials about possible interaction between the animals and humans.

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According to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, "although the overall risk to humans by white sharks is low, there is a high potential for overlap between white sharks and recreational water users, and the results have clear implications for shark-related public safety practices in the region."

While analyzing tagging data, the researchers found sharks spend 95% of their tracked time in depths 100 feet or less, and that 47% of their time was spent in depths of 15 feet or less.

"White sharks are regularly spotted off our coastline during the summer and fall, the peak of Cape Cod's tourist season, but until now we didn't know just how much time they spent in shallow water close to shore," Winton said.

There have been four unprovoked white shark attacks on humans, including one fatal attack, off the coast of Cape Cod since 2012, according to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

WBZ NewsRadio's Rob Woodard reports

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(Photo: Getty Images)


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