Chatham, a Cape Cod town has issued a warning for swimmers after two great white sharks were spotted in the waters. One of the sighted sea sharks was believed to be more than 16 feet in length.
“Chatham issues advisory after numerous shark sightings, banning swimming within 300 feet of seals along eastern coast,” according to a statement posted by the Cape Cod Chronicle on its Twitter account on Sunday.
George Breen, a pilot for the Sandwich, Mass.-based conservation group Cape Cod Shark Hunters was making a routine survey flight when he identified two great white sharks in the waters. This sighting was made on June 28th and Breen says that while one of the sharks was about half a mile from the shore, the other was just 50 yards away.
The bigger one was near North Beach Island in Chatham and close to the shore.
Breen also added that the two sharks sighted did not seem to be the same one as those sighted last year in these shores. These two had been detected via transmitter signals last week near Chatham.
Last year according to Breen, 8 sharks had been tagged near the shores.
According to Joe Fitzback, a veteran sea captain with Chatman Bait & Tackle, the number of Great white sharks in these coasts has increased as the population of seals here, is very good.
“The great whites have always been here and we will have more,” Fitzback said. “We have so many seals that it only makes sense that we will have more sightings as the years go by.”
He had also spotted a shark last week but was not sure if it was the same one that was seen by Breen. His first encounter with the sea predator was in 2001 when he was in a boat just a couple of miles east of South Beach.
“They’re out there and they’re hungry for seals,” Fitzback said.
Chatham has six beaches, five located on the Nantucket Sound and one on the ocean side of the Atlantic. Fitzback says that the growing number of sharks coming to the area has also made Chatham into a tourist hotspot with people wishing to see the sharks.
“It’s a novelty of sorts,” Fitzback said. “When there are sightings, it gets kind of hectic around here. Everyone wants to come down to see the sharks. But the truth is, you can’t see them from the beach, you have to go out into the water.”
Last year, several Chatham beaches shut down due to shark sightings and reports of seal attacks. As of Monday, Chatham beaches remained open.