Sharks being tracked off Cape beaches
As vacationers head to local waters for the unofficial start of summer it's likely they might be joined by dangerous visitors, sharks.
Last year, Cape Cod witnessed the first shark attack in New England in decades.
The seasonal hot spot is gearing up for another busy summer. Shark expert Dr. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries said, "I certainly expect white sharks to arrive sometime this month, in May and stay through summer. There probably will be four or five sharks that will stay here through the summer, leaving anywhere from October to December.
Last year, Skomal and a crew from a group called Ocearch caught and tagged a few great white sharks with GPS trackers. The Ocearch web site allows anyone to follow the sharks' movements. The team is hoping to learn about the sharks behaviors and travels.
Ocearch expedition leader Chris Fischer told NBC 10, "From a public safety standpoint, the same kind of information identifying where they breeding and where they are feeding allows us to get the rhythm of white sharks' life and then when people understand that rhythm and where they are and where they're spending their time and what they're doing, it allows them to make much better decisions as to when they use the ocean."
Fischer said the great whites have been making the trip to the Cape for a very long time, they're just more visible and closer to shore now because of the increase in the number of seals in the area, which the sharks feed on. "They've always been there and it's important for everyone to know and understand, hey, use some common sense. There's no reason to go swimming near seals at dawn and dusk."
As a result of the increased sightings and an attack on a swimmer's leg last summer, a number of towns on the Cape are posting warning signs at the beaches.
"I think if we can point out where these sharks are spending the bulk of their time, I think that's really handy information for all those municipalities that are dealing with this issue," Skomal said.
Researchers hope to tag more sharks this summer.