June 23, 2015
Great White Shark Spotted Yesterday May Be New Visitor To Cape Cod

The first great white shark of the summer season has been spotted off Cape Cod, and researchers assert that the animal may be a first time visitor to the region.

The shark was sighted yesterday off Orleans by a team from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the shark was a 15-foot-long female, spotted in water that was roughly 15 to 20-feet-deep. Researchers were able to document the shark and film it from numerous angles, including the air. As photographs of the animal have been examined, the conservancy has noted that the white shark did not have a tag, and represents a new entry in their catalog of great whites.

Researchers use the white shark's markings in order to differentiate individuals of the species, as CBS Boston points out. Each shark is different, and according to the White Shark Conservancy's Cynthia Wigren, the group was able to film this particular great white up close.

"We were able to get GoPro video of the shark which is what the scientists use to ID the shark and catalog the shark," she noted.

While some beachgoers may be alarmed by the presence of white sharks off their shores, their arrival in the region at this time of the year is hardly an anomaly, according to Dr. Greg Skomal, one of the preeminent white shark experts on the East Coast.

"This is not unusual," Dr. Skomal observed. "We fully anticipate that the sharks would be here by now. We're not seeing large numbers yet. I think the water temperatures are still quite cold."

The conservancy is beginning the second season of a planned five-year-long tagging study, which aims to document the white shark population off Cape Cod and determine how many of the predators are repeat visitors to the region. An active and growing seal colony provides ample enticement for the sharks, whose numbers have rebounded in the northern Atlantic over the last few decades.

Last year, the conservancy successfully documented 68 individual white sharks in the region, though they expect that many more could migrate to the area. Researchers have also deployed buoys armed with shark tracking receivers this year, as Cape Cod News reports, adding another dimension to their efforts to detect the great whites.

[Image: Atlantic White Shark Conservancy via Twitter]