NECN reports that east-facing beaches in Chatham, Massachusetts have been closed to swimming due to shark sightings and “increased activity.” A large number of grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) are currently in the waters of the beaches affected by the closures. The grey seal is a natural prey item for great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), which migrate to the waters of Cape Cod in the summer months.
The beach closures were announced just before the Labor Day holiday weekend, which is one of last big beach weekends of the summer for vacationers in the area.
YouTube user GreenFinsTuna filmed this footage of a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) feeding on a grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) on August 22, 2012. The feeding event took place off of the southern tip of Monomoy Island (Chatham, MA), according to the video description. The videographer describes the shark as being “easily 15-feet long” and had been tagged with a satellite tracking tag.
It’s that time of year again, and it should come as no surprise that great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) have returned to Cape Cod for the summer. The Cape Cod Times reported last week that signals (transmitted from tracking tags) were received off Chatham, MA from two white sharks tagged last year in Cape Cod waters.
For the past few years, the presence of white sharks in the area during the summer months has been making news. It is believed that the large population of grey seals (Halichoerus grypus), a natural food source for the sharks, is part of the reason that the sharks congregate in the waters off of Chatham during this time period.
Boston’s NECN is reporting that three Chatham beaches have been closed indefinitely after beachgoers witnessed a white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) preying on a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) “close to beach.” The three beaches closed are North Beach, North Beach Island and South Beach are closed to swimming. A swimming ban from 5pm to 9:30am still remains in effect for Chatham’s Lighthouse Beach.
NECN reports that a ban on swimming between 5pm and 9:30am has been put into effect along east-facing beaches in Chatham, Massachusetts. The ban began Wednesday (August 10) after a white shark was spotted “a little too close to shore,” according to the report.
While the report notes that the feeding time for white sharks is “from dusk ’til dawn,” white sharks have been documented to feed during daylight hours. The ban coincides with times when officials are not able to patrol those areas for sharks, which is likely a more reasonable explanation for the time-frame of the ban, which was also pointed out in the report.