Orleans – The first shark of the 2016 season was tagged by researchers this week off the coast of Cape Cod, opening the third year of a shark population study that seeks to document the itinerant predators that come to the region every summer.
The state and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) joined forces to collect data about the great white sharks as part of the population study that started three years ago. This research wants to expand knowledge about the species which has come to the Cape on a regular basis in recent years. The study has shown that Orleans is a marine zone with an unusual shark activity.
The specimen that opened shark season was tagged off Nauset Beach on Friday. Working with the AWSC, Dr. Gregory Skomal, of the Division of Marine Fisheries, tagged a 12-foot-long white shark. The animal was male, and it was called Luke by Dr. Skomal. He said he named it Luke after a friend who recently died.
But Cape Cod Chronicle reports that the first white shark of the season was detected last week near Monomoy on Monday. It was a female, white shark of 11-foot-long, and it was named Scratchy, according to Brewster.
The encounter with the female shark was unusual according to Dr. Skomal’s team because they observed the shark preying upon a gray seal. The observation is peculiar because the tactic is commonly seen in other white shark areas like South Africa, but it has rarely been seen in Cape Cod., according to the Inquisitr.
What a day! First white shark tagged this season, and the research team documented the second predation in one week! pic.twitter.com/rN9z0pvLpH
— Atlantic White Shark (@A_WhiteShark) June 24, 2016
When the shark season begins, a purple flag with a white shark rises in Nauset Beach. Other similar signs are shown in other beaches to warn people about the white shark presence.
On Tuesday several beachgoers at Race Point Beach reported another great white shark presence. They witness an adult white shark attacking a seal from below. The seal was injured and then devoured by the great shark. Cape Cod Times shared on Twitter.
2015 shark season and what the researchers could collect about them
During last season researchers documented 141 individual white sharks in the region, and 101 of those specimens were in the area for the first time.
According to Sr. Dr. Skomal, last year represented an increase from the first year of the study, when the researchers recorded 68 white sharks. In that first year, 18 sharks were tagged to study the predator’s movements.
During the 2015 season, another 24 white sharks were added to the study, expanding the data collected by researchers.
Dr. Skomal and his team captured a video of another extraordinary attempt when a great white shark chased a seal in a breach attack.
The president of AWSC, Cynthia Wigren, the work of the state and the Conservancy has helped to reveal relevant information about the big sharks, but there are still questions to be answered.
The work done in Orleans regarding sharks is very recent compared to other areas, such as California.
— Cape Cod Times (@capecodtimes) June 22, 2016
Source: The Inquisitr