Three Cape Cod beaches in Massachusetts were closed after six sharks were spotted in the bay about six weeks ago. The finding led authorities to restrict the access to the beaches at the Atlantic coast since people could be in danger while swimming in the waters. However, the closure ended today and beaches are back open to tourists.

The sharks were spotted around a whale carcass so in a precautionary measure, the beaches were closed. Some researchers considered that this flow of sharks in this area may be the result of a resurgence of seals, especially gray seals, one of the preferred food types of the big animal. Sharks have not been seen around the U.S. Atlantic coast for a while so this appearance was rare. However, the amount of seals and the existence of remains of dead whales may be very attractive to white sharks.

It is possible that some sharks start congregating around areas with a considerable amount of food, like seals or whales. Image credit: Thing Link

The beaches under the scope

The three beaches that were closed as a precautionary measure were Noons Landing, Beach Point, and Cold Storage located in the town of Truro in Barnstable County, Massachusetts.

The 11-foot-long whale carcass was about two miles away from the land, so considering this proximity to the area available to tourists and residents, Truro’s authorities called an alert situation that led to the temporary closure of the beaches near Sulikowski.

But due to the climate conditions and the inexistence of other whale remains and the reduction of the flow of gray seals, the county recommended the re-opening of the beaches, even when some researchers consider more sharks will appear.

This is good news

By Thursday at least two great sharks fed properly on the carcass, which is good news for the shark species. Researchers from the Center for Coastal Studies said that the carcass ended in a radically different condition and after examining the remains discovered that the sharks were able to eat the internal organs, most of the muscle and the tongue.

It would only make sense to see more and more sharks up on our way. They actually strengthen and cull older populations of seals” said James Sulikowski, professor of marine science at the University of New England.

So considering the trend of this particular kind of shark to fed on remains and dying animals this appearance and the projection of more sharks in the area is a good thing for marine life.

Sharks and humans

The fear of humans towards sharks is historic, although only seven sharks attacks on humans are documented in Massachusetts since the 19th century, and two out of those seven were in Cape Cod, according to reports made by the Shark Research Foundation.

White sharks are an endangered species since a considerable decline in its population has been documented since 1980, but the good news is that since last year researchers and marine specialists have seen that may have been an increase of reproduction in this particular species. This recovery may be the result of the flow of gray seals already mentioned, as well and new localized summer feeding areas in some coasts.

To the Shark Research Foundation and the Center for Coastal Studies, substantial amounts of white sharks are congregating and will keep congregating around Cape Cod during the summer and then head to Florida and stay there during the winter.

Source: The Guardian