CBS News reports that a great white shark, Ashley Grace, was spotted in Cape Cod Bay Monday afternoon — a sighting that is now marked on Sharktivity. The 12-foot-long shark, which was first tagged in August of 2016, was reportedly spotted off the coast of Wellfleet.
After the sighting, the Facebook page for Wellfleet Lifeguards reported that they will be flying a purple shark flag during all lifeguard hours to notify patrons of the shark risk that is present at all times during the summer. But if there is a confirmed sighting, the water is evacuated, and the lifeguards raise a black flag.
In addition, The Boston Herald reports that another great white shark — this one 13-feet-long — was spotted Monday morning on the southern tip of Monomoy Island eating a seal.
Greg Skomal, senior fisheries scientist with the state Division of Marine Fisheries, is working with Atlantic White Shark Conservancy to study how great whites hunt seals off Cape Cod with the goal of better understanding their feeding patterns in order to keep swimmers safe.
“We are trying to determine when and where white sharks attack seals and to forecast that. Are there any hot spots? Tidal cycles? That’s what we’re trying to do.”
“From a public safety perspective, it is critical to get a better idea of hunting and feeding behavior. If sharks are feeding at certain times of the day or stages of the tide, for example, we can use that information to identify periods when the risk of interactions between sharks and recreational water users may be highest,” said Atlantic White Shark Conservancy CEO Cynthia Wigren on the group’s blog.
Sharkophile reports that great white sharks are also known as white death, white shark, and white pointer. When they’re referred to as great whites, it’s a reference to their underbellies, which are snow-white in color. They are also one of the most popular and well-known sharks, thanks to their reputation of being the most deadly sharks — at least in terms of human deaths — around the world.
But as research has accumulated, it has become clear these sharks aren’t mindless killing machines. Instead, they appear to be curious predators that often take bites out of curiosity — not an instinct to prey on humans, as many people believe. Although they are still more dangerous than other sharks, such as the bonnethead, great white sharks don’t specifically attack humans. In fact, great white attacks on humans are actually very rare.