Though most white sharks have left the waters off Massachusetts, several great whites remains in the area, and one of them was photographed from the air earlier this week, swimming near Chatham Harbor inlet.
The great white was sighted by Wayne Davis, spotter pilot for the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, as he flew above the ocean on December 15. In a post on their Facebook page, the conservancy shared Davis’ image of the shark, noting that it was taken roughly a mile south of Chatham Harbor inlet. They detailed that water temperatures at the time of the sighting were around 40 degrees.
White sharks migrate to warmer waters in the winter, as their paths are largely driven by temperature. According to Dr. Greg Skomal, a Senior Marine Fisheries Biologist with the state of Massachusetts, several of the animals will remain in the area until late in the season, in order to hunt the population of seals that makes Cape Cod attractive to them.
In October, Skomal told the Boston Globe that researchers would suspend their yearly efforts to tag the sharks at the end of the month.
— Atlantic White Shark (@A_WhiteShark) December 14, 2014
“It’s not weird to see sharks this time of year,” he observed. “Usually what keeps us from going out and tagging is bad weather. So it’s not that the sharks aren’t there, we just can’t go out on the water to tag them.”
Thanks to their efforts tracking the sharks, researchers know that the great white off Chatham isn’t alone. Katharine, a white shark fitted with a Smart Position and Temperature (SPOT) tag on her dorsal fin, has frequented the Nantucket Sound over the last few months. The shark recently returned to the area, after traveling to the Gulf of Mexico, as the Inquisitr previously reported.
On the morning of Tuesday, December 9, Katharine surfaced near Falmouth beaches, which could indicate that she is heading West, according to Cape News.
Dr. Skomal observed that Katharine surfaces frequently, relaying her position to researchers. He suspects that the shark returned to the cape due to its abundance of gray seals.
“She’s in a very simple coastal pattern,” he said. “The big question is why she is in Nantucket Sound. The next few days will be interesting.”
As the waters around Cape Cod continue to cool, Katharine and her fellow great white sharks will be turning south, seeking new territory until summer.
[Image: Wayne Davis/ Atlantic White Shark Conservancy via Facebook]