First Shark Of The Season Detected Off Monomoy

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge , Sharks

Scratch in a photo taken in 2014. ATLANTIC WHITE SHARK CONSERVANCY/MASS DMF

CHATHAM -- There's no doubt now: the sharks are here.

A male great white shark named "Scratchy" that was tagged last year was detected Thursday off Monomoy.

Shark researchers detected Scratchy Thursday in Shark Cove, off South Monomoy Island. Named for the scratches on its body probably inflicted by seals, Scratchy was tagged by Dr. Greg Skomal and his team last August as part of a five-year population study funded by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.  The shark was first photographed by the team in 2014.

The Conservancy Tweeted the detected Thursday, the first day of the third year of the population study.  It was the first confirmation of a great white shark in Chatham waters this season.  Last year the first white shark was not spotted until June 22, although according to Skomal, in years past tagged sharks have been detected on receiver buoys as early as Memorial Day.

Skomal and his team will continue their research trips twice a week through the fall.  A total of 141 individual sharks have been identified using video fingerprinting techniques that involve recording the animals with a GoPro video camera and analyzing the footage to identify distinctive features on each animal.

Watch next week's paper for more on this story.