An Update on the Cape's Shark Situation
CAPE COD – Summers in New England, unless you are evaluating them from the point of view of Steven Spielberg in 1975, are typically very calm and make for a great boon for the tourism industry at many beaches in the south of Maine, but especially in Cape Cod on the eastern coast of Massachusetts. This summer, however, has seemingly thrown the Cape into an entire state of upheaval and chaos as there has not been a normal week of tourism or beachgoing activities for the Cape so far.
One of the main causes for this has been the peculiar weather, which has included the tail ends of hurricanes, tornadoes, and microbursts as they blow the roofs off of Cape Cod hotels. Additionally, when there is not record-breaking gusts of winds on the Cape, there are record-shattering heat waves that plunged the beaches into the hottest temperatures they have ever felt.
But the one main cause for Cape Cod having an unconventional summer has unequivocally been the presence of the sharks. And they have been much more frequently spotted than they were in Jaws. These sharks have been the dominant narrative of Cape Cod’s summer of 2019 and with the closure of some beaches last week, I wanted to wait until the end of this week to write about it, in case more beaches were closed again.
In hindsight, the man who last summer became the first Massachusetts person to die from a shark in 82 years should have been seen as a sign of things to come, rather than a freak anomaly.
Last week, Newcomb Hollow Beach was closed on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday after over 20 shark sightings were reported off the shores of the popular beach. These shark sightings added to the 161 total sightings in Cape Cod since June 1, but this does not mean that there are 161 sharks in the Atlantic Ocean near us right now. Per the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, the same shark can be reported as seen multiple times.
This past week was definitely an improvement, but there are still growing reports of sharks, which, per the scientists of the Conservancy, is because of the increase in both the temperature of the water and the population of seals.
Whatever is causing the sharks to pop up during Shark Week, just make sure that you exercise caution when venturing into the water.