Tolerance of Heavy Cape Cod Shark Presence Costs a Life [OPINION]
For months on the air, I've been saying it's a matter of when, not if, a Cape Cod swimmer is devoured by a shark.
Over the course of the last few years, those of us living on the coast of Massachusetts have been monitoring the increasing numbers of both seals and their natural predator, the shark. In particular, the great white shark has made Cape Cod a regular hang out.
Earlier today, a man was killed by a shark on an outer-Cape beach in Wellfleet. For those not familiar, the outer-Cape is the easternmost points of Cape Cod and, and it has had very heavy great white activity, and has even drawn an increase of scientists who have put tracking devices on many of them.
For these last years, the shark activity was reportedly in a consolidated area near the southeastern "elbow" of Cape Cod, near Monomoy Point. This area has always had its share of seals and sharks, but in recent years both populations have boomed in these waters and have increased their territory there.
Last year and this year, fishermen have been telling me that I'd be shocked to see how many sharks are just yards away from thousands of swimmers, not just on the outer-Cape at beaches in Truro, Wellfleet, Provincetown and Chatham. They have observed sharks on a regular basis inside the Massachusetts Bay--not unheard of, but now in large numbers.
They will tell you that the great white is claiming territory more western, toward Buzzard's Bay and the Elizabeth Islands.
This year, I thought the state has been too indifferent to the new activity we've observed.
1) A New York man was bitten bitten by a shark and rushed to a hospital in critical condition on Wednesday, August 15.
2) A great white attacked a seal just 50 feet off of a beach filled with people this past August 16. A witness sent the video to WCVB Boston.
3) A 10-foot great white shark was caught inside Massachusetts Bay, just 500 feet off of Dennis by Dartmouth charter fishing king Mel True, which was caught on video.
And earlier today, a young man in his mid-20's was ravaged by a shark and was presumed dead before he left the beach in an ambulance.
I'm not a shark hater. And I'm not a seal hater, but it is time to choose between having access to the .00000000001 percent of the ocean that we like to use for the human beings or cowering to the environwhackos who will tell us that we have no business swimming in the ocean if the sharks want to be at the beaches of Massachusetts.
Seventy-five percent of the Earth is covered in ocean waters. I don't think it is asking too much to defend the first few hundred feet of shoreline from creatures that can kill us, accidentally or not.
I am going to be interested in seeing what the governor's reaction will be.
In California, mountain lions have been returning to areas claimed by man as we encroach into the little territory they have left. When one kills or even attacks a human, the state will kill the lion or any lions within a certain radius of the attack.
This is different. Sharks have pah-lenty of other places to go. The fear of angering environmentalists and being the subject of scientific scorn has created a bad situation for the swimmers and surfers of Cape Cod. Not just them, but how about the Cape restaurants, hotels, motels and tourism industry?
I would prefer to see the sharks and seals forcibly relocated many thousands of miles from Cape Cod, so they can continue their ways. But the practical and more realistic option is to either mandate a culling of both seal and shark for several months, or cede the water to them and watch Cape Cod be reduced to ghost town numbers not seen since 1930.
It is a potential economic catastrophe. There will be people who feel very strongly about both of those options, and we will hear from them all soon.
My position is summed up in two words: Where's Quint?
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @RadioKenPittman. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.