Last Friday researchers tagged the 19th great white shark of the season, a 15-foot animal located off Nauset Beach in Orleans.
According to the Chatham Shark Center, that brings the total number of sharks tagged in Cape waters since 2009 to 97. Since 2014, the state Division of Marine Fisheries, working with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC), has identified 200 individual sharks, 20 of them so far this season. The study is now in its third summer. Most of those sharks have been given names. DMF announced last week that a 15-foot male tagged on Sept. had been designated “Big Papi” after Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz; the post was widely circulated on social media.
AWSC is funding the five-year population study, being conducted by DMF's Dr. Greg Skomal. The nonprofit has contributed more than $400,000 in support of the study, and has committed to another $275,000 to complete the work.
Sharktivity App Reaches Milestone
The AWSC reported last week that its Sharktivity smartphone app had reach 100,000 downloads. Sponsored by Everglades Boats and Amelia Rose Jewelry, the app allows users to track white shark sightings by the Division of Marine Fisheries/AWSC research team, as well as those reported by citizens. Folks can also report sightings and submit their own shark photos. Alerts are also issued when sharks are sighted close to shore.
According to the AWSC, an Android version of the Sharktivity app will be launched in October.
OCEARCH Off Nantucket
OCEARCH, the non-profit shark research organization that tagged five great white sharks off Chatham several years ago, will be off Nantucket through Oct. 10 on another expedition to tag more sharks. Their presence could jeopardize the validity of the state/AWSC population study, Director Cynthia Wigren wrote in a letter to Ocearch Director Chris Fischer. Noting that the state had denied OCEARCH a permit to tag sharks in state waters, she asked the organization not to use its federal permit to capture and tag sharks outside of the three-mile state territorial water limit, and to hold off on further work in the area until the five-year population study is completed.
Skomal Talk At The Museum
Next Tuesday, Sept. 27, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History on Route 6A in Brewster will host a great white shark research fundraiser featuring Dr. Greg Skomal from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Cost is $25 per person.
The museum will also be showing the PBS documentary “Shark Mountain” daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visit www.ccmnh.org for more information.