Two Great White Sharks Identified Just Off Massachusetts Shore

Researchers have spotted and identified two more great white sharks off the Massachusetts coast, watching as at least one of the massive fish approached to within a quarter mile of the shoreline.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which is currently engaged in the second year of a population study examining the great whites off Cape Cod, released images of the animals on Sunday, according to ABC News. Taken by spotter pilot Wayne Davis during a July 28 tagging voyage, they reveal the massive white sharks approaching eerily close to the breakers crashing upon the shore.

“We spotted multiple sharks on Tuesday and got enough footage of two for the scientists to ID them,” Cynthia Wigren, the conservancy’s president, observed.

The sharks are regular visitors to the region, appearing each summer.

While some of the sharks were spotted well out to sea, others were detected far closer to shore. The conservancy’s images revealed one of the white sharks swimming along the shoreline, less than a quarter of a mile from a beach. No swimmers were visible in the area at the time, though beachgoers were treated to a show last week when a white shark attacked a seal just off Eastham, as Wicked Local reports.

The conservancy is undertaking the study, along with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, in an effort to not only quantify the seasonal white shark population, but also to determine how many of the animals are repeat visitors to the cape. Several sharks that were documented last year (when researchers identified 68 individual great whites), have returned this year. Others, however, have been notable holdouts, including well-known white sharks Mary Lee and Katharine. Reliable visitors to the region, the two great whites have so far remained south, as the Inquisitr previously reported.

While Dr. Greg Skomal is involved in the conservancy’s tagging efforts, Marine Fisheries Biologist John Chisholm was aboard the vessel last Tuesday. According to Wigren, the conservancy has been able to tag 16 white sharks so far this season, though she points out that their efforts will continue until the summer ends.

“Activity so far is greater than last year, but the season doesn’t end until the end of October,” she noted.

Though the research team’s efforts are far from over, they have already managed to film several predation events this season, revealing the region’s great white shark population in ever increasing detail.

[Images by Wayne Davis / Atlantic White Shark Conservancy via ABC News]