Summer May Be Ending, But Great White Sharks Are Still Being Spotted On Both Coasts

Summer may be nearing its end, but a recent series of sightings have proven that great white sharks are still present along the northern reaches of both the United States’ coastlines, and are unlikely to move south until cooling waters drive them away.

The West Coast’s most recent white shark sighting took place in Morro Bay, where charter captain Michael Brink encountered one of the predators on Thursday morning. While filming a dead dolphin he had stumbled upon, just south of Morro Rock, Brink was startled by the approach of a mature great white, which he estimated to be between 18 and 20 feet long, according to San Luis Obispo’s Tribune.

After inspecting Brink’s boat, the great white began rubbing against the side of the vessel, ignoring the dead dolphin nearby. Brink, 38, at first pulled his GoPro out of the water as the shark approached, only submerging it again when the massive fish began to move away. Luckily, he was able to film the shark, passing that clip on to both the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment in an effort to confirm that the animal was indeed a white shark. Both institutions were able to verify that fact, with Professor Barbara Block of the Stanford Woods Institute noting that the shark is likely one already known to researchers.

On the East Coast, much of the local white shark activity has been limited to Cape Cod, which has become a summer hotspot for the species in recent years. On Friday morning, three of the animals were spotted between Nauset Public Beach and Callanan’s Pass in Orleans, according to Mass Live. While there are no lifeguards stationed at Nauset Beach after Labor Day who could formally close the shore due to the presence of a shark, the sightings were nevertheless reported to the public through a smartphone app that debuted earlier this summer, Sharktivity.

As the Inquisitr has previously noted, Sharktivity is a product of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, in concert with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, local officials, and the Cape Cod National Seashore. The app allows both the conservancy’s research team as well as the general public to report and upload their own white shark sightings, which are then assessed by experts for veracity before they are released as an alert. Sharktivity has been credited with keeping at least one family out of the water at a remote beach when a great white was spotted nearby, and is a unique tool in the hands of off-season beachgoers, who may not be able to rely on lifeguards for timely shark warnings.

The white sharks have been no strangers to Cape Cod this year, and have been photographed repeatedly preying upon the local seal population. Race Point Beach was closed no fewer than three times this summer due to the presence of great whites, while the conservancy’s team have worked diligently to catalog the animals on twice weekly research voyages. Environmental non-profit Ocearch, meanwhile, was able to identify a great white breeding ground this summer in an area off Long Island known as the New York Bight, the first of its kind in the Northern Atlantic.

While the number of white sharks off the coast may be daunting, statistics show that attacks on humans remain exceedingly rare, both in the region and worldwide. Though the conservancy identified over 140 individual great white sharks off Cape Cod last summer, there have been only two attacks in Massachusetts since 2000, neither of which resulted in a fatality.

[Photo by Elias Levy – Own Work via Flickr | Cropped and Resized | CC BY 2.0]

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