Researchers with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy have spotted and filmed two new great whites off the coast of Chatham, as warming waters bring the predators to Cape Cod for their annual summer residency.
The two white sharks were spotted off an area of Chatham known as the North Cut, according to CBS Boston. The research team sighted the sharks on Friday, and while they did not tag either of the animals, they were able to record video of the great whites. One of the sharks was estimated to be roughly 12-feet-long, while the second, which was spotted roughly a mile from the North Cut, was notably smaller. Researchers projected that shark to be about nine-feet-long.
— WBZ Boston News (@cbsboston) July 11, 2015
The sightings come just a week after the first white shark of the season was tagged off the cape. As WCVB reports, the research team was able to document and tag a 13-foot-long white shark, named Avery, off the same coastline last week. An unusual specimen, Avery had previously been documented in the area. In fact, she was the first white shark to be tagged by researchers when they set out last year on their mission to record the great white population off the cape.
The white sharks have become a regular summer presence off the coast, featuring on Discovery’s Shark Week and proving a boon for the local economy. The White Shark Conservancy is currently engaged in the second summer of a five-year-long population study, which aims to identify how many of the predators are congregating off the coast, and whether any are reliably repeat visitors. The white sharks are drawn to the region by an abundant seal population, which represents a major food source for them.
— Atlantic White Shark (@A_WhiteShark) July 11, 2015
In light of the great whites’ presence, the Massachusetts state government issued a series of regulatory guidelines earlier this year, as a way to protect both the sharks and beachgoers. The measures concern possible interactions between the sharks and divers, as the Inquisitr previously reported, and seek to regulate the use of attractants among shark cage tours. The practice of baiting white sharks has become extremely controversial in some regions, where divers assert that great white behavior has changed as the sharks are trained to associate human beings with food.
The conservancy’s study will continue through the summer, as they aim to more clearly document the local great white shark population.
[Photo by Dan Kitwood / Getty Images]