Emergency Great White Shark Regulations Issued In Massachusetts

As a population of great white sharks prepares to migrate towards the Massachusetts coastline for the summer, the predators will find themselves moving into friendlier waters since state officials have adopted emergency regulations to protect both sharks and swimmers.

The great white population has been increasingly visible in the region each year, drawn to the area by a growing seal colony as the sharks have made a comeback in the Atlantic over the last decade. As the Inquisitr has previously reported, a number of researchers have documented the sharks, including the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which is engaged in a multi-year tagging effort.

The conservancy has been working since 2013 to establish protective regulations for the sharks, and according to WCVB, they have finally been successful. On Tuesday, the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries issued an advisory which restricts activities in the presence of white sharks, and the regulations are effective immediately.

The advisory will prohibit humans from undertaking a specific set of activities while around white sharks, according to Cape Cod Today. These include cage diving, chumming, baiting, feeding, and attracting the sharks with a decoy. The only people who will be allowed to attract or capture great whites are those who are issued a special white shark permit.

“The summertime presence of these sharks has resulted in substantial public interest and this interest is prompting an increase in deliberate interactions between white sharks and humans, including the development of cage diving and other white shark tourism businesses, as well as incidents of recreational boaters attempting to attract white sharks to their vessels,” the advisory read.

Similar regulations are in place in many other areas of the world, and are currently the center of controversy in New Zealand, where several cage diving operators have been blamed for increasingly aggressive behavior by local white sharks.

The DNF was quick to note that the white shark regulations would not affect current fishing or boating operations, including chumming. If a great white is hooked while attempting to catch other fish, anglers would not be considered in violation as long as they release the shark in a manner that maximizes its chances of survival.

Cynthia Wigren, President and Co-founder of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, voiced her support for the regulations, saying the conservancy would apply for a permit to continue their operations. While the conservancy documented and tagged 68 animals last year, she noted that their research suggests a far larger number of great white sharks may make the region their temporary home.

[Photo by Dan Kitwood / Getty Images]