Cape Cod Deals With Return of Great Whites

It would help if people stopped swimming near seals, say experts

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 4, 2012 6:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – After a kayaker's close call was followed by Massachusetts' first great white shark attack since 1936, authorities have some advice for Cape Cod swimmers: Stay away from seals. More than 300,000 grey seals now live in the area—30 times more than in the '60s—and their presence has attracted plenty of great whites, notes the Globe and Mail. The seal-hunting sharks lurk offshore as seals leave or return to beaches, making the area where the bottom drops off a very bad place to swim if you don't want to be mistaken for a seal by a hungry shark, experts say.

Tourism officials hope the attack won't be too bad for business. "Not to downplay the nasty experience the bitee has had, but there are sharks in the ocean," the director of the state's tourism office says. "There’s a lot of signs and notices about where it is safe to swim and where it is not. People should stay away from seals." The bitee himself, a 50-year-old man from Denver, suffered serious leg injuries but was released from the hospital yesterday—and he isn't holding a grudge against the shark. "I’ll be biting into a nice steak tonight and probably not thinking too hard about it," he told the Boston Herald. "So I can’t get too mad at the shark either."

Shark bite victim Christopher Myers, of Denver, is wheeled out of Massachusetts General Hospital yesterday.
Shark bite victim Christopher Myers, of Denver, is wheeled out of Massachusetts General Hospital yesterday.   (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Walter Szulc Jr., in kayak at left, looks back at the dorsal fin of an approaching shark at Nauset Beach in Cape Cod last month.
Walter Szulc Jr., in kayak at left, looks back at the dorsal fin of an approaching shark at Nauset Beach in Cape Cod last month.   (AP Photo/Shelly Negrotti)
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