The first white shark was detected by marine conservationists in Cape Cod recently. These waters are known as a place where many seals gather every year.
These species have been protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act since 1972 after they had been excessively hunted by locals. Therefore, thanks to the fact that they are protected by the federal government, their numbers have significantly increased over the last decades.
It is known that seals are the favorite source of food for sharks. In other words, with the growth of the seal population in Cape Cod waters, along came more and more white sharks every year. In 2014, researchers established that seals attracted 68 great whites around Cape Cod.
Moreover, 140 specimens were registered in 2015, and the number was expected to increase as well this year as the first shark was recently spotted by scientists. A team of researchers from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy identified a 13-foot male great white, known as ‘Scratchy.’
The shark was previously tagged in 2014 and still has an electronic tracker so that scientists from the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Department can monitor its movement. Scratchy got his name nickname because scientists observed that he had a lot of scratches on the sides, most likely from fighting with seals.
According to the State Marine Fisheries Division, even if great white sharks are not usually seen in the Atlantic Ocean, they were however identified off the coast of Chatham, Cape Cod, around Monomoy Island. The area is quite famous for hosting an impressive population of gray seals. Therefore, the sharks are most likely attracted to the source of food.
From 2009 until 2015, marine biologists managed to identify and tag 80 great white sharks in waters of Cape Cod. Thanks to their efforts, everyone will find out more about the behavior and habits of this fascinating ocean predator.
Furthermore, experts believe that Cape Cod will soon become the ‘main attraction’ for great white sharks due to the high number of seals living here. According to Owen Nichols, a marine biologist with 15 years of seal expertise, these marine mammals have significantly increased in numbers over the last 30 years.
Moreover, he underlines that seals have begun to recolonize the Cape Cod once again after they were almost exterminated in the 1960s.
Image Source:Practical Fish Keeping