July 4th Shark Sighting Closes White Horse Beach in Plymouth
A shark was spotted off White Horse Beach in Plymouth and swimmers were ordered out of the water on the Fourth of July.
Around 4:35 on Saturday, beachgoers reported seeing a fin shortly after they saw a seal jump out of the water, according to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Sharktivity app. Lifeguards told people to get out of the water after the confirmed shark sighting, the Plymouth Harbormaster Department tweeted.
Sharks were also reported at Englewood Beach in Yarmouth on Friday. A police boat came by to order people out of the water while a crowd gathered on the breakwater, according to Sharktivity. Additionally, there was a confirmed shark sighting off Longnook Beach in Truro on Saturday.
Great White Shark numbers in the Cape Cod area have increased in recent years in response to a growth in gray seals, a favored food source for the marine predators, according to the Conservancy. Gray seal populations rebounded following the prohibition of bounty hunting in Massachusetts in the 1960s and the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972.
The Division of Marine Fisheries, the School for Marine Science and Technology at UMass Dartmouth, and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy have been been collaborating to determine the size of the white shark population and identify trends. To date, around 300 white sharks have been identified in the region.
Cape Cod has emerged as the only known place in the northwest Atlantic where white sharks aggregate, according to the Conservancy.