Massive 16-Foot-Long Great White Shark Spotted Off Cape Cod

Researchers spotted one of the largest great white sharks of the season so far off the coast of Cape Cod this week, measuring the predator at somewhere between 15 and 16-feet-long.

The shark was sighted by a team from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, who are currently engaged in the second year of a population study focused on the great whites that flock to the region each summer. The team takes to the sea twice a week in an effort to both document and tag the predators, and on Tuesday they encountered a massive great white shark near Nauset Inlet, off Orleans.

According to CapeCod.com, the shark is believed to be one of the largest (if not the largest) encountered by the conservancy so far this year. Researchers were unable to tag the great white shark, which moved into deeper waters before a transmitter could be affixed. Based on its size, the shark would have presented a significant challenge to researchers were they to attempt tagging it, yet the team was able to film the great white underwater, according to WFSB. They will review that footage in order to determine if the shark has been documented before, or if it is a newcomer to Cape Cod.

This season has been filled with new great white sharks documented by the conservancy. While the research team was able to identify 68 individual sharks over the course of last year’s study, this year they have recorded more than 80 different great whites. The conservancy still has roughly a month and a half to go in their season, and as of the beginning of September, they had been able to tag 16 of the great white sharks, as WCVB reports.

Several dramatic incidents on Cape Cod involving great white sharks have defined this season, as the denser population allows more opportunities for interactions with beachgoers. At least two white sharks have become stranded (one fatally), while multiple predation events have been witnessed both by the conservancy and beachgoers. In addition, Dr. Greg Skomal, who works with the conservancy, was able to record the first great white shark breach ever filmed off Cape Cod.

[Photo by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy via Twitter]