Topics: Marine Mammals

CHATHAM – Seals have been a common sight in Aunt Lydia's Cove for years, popping their heads above the water and swimming about as they wait for a snack to tumble over the side of a fishing boat. But this summer it was different. Beginning in July, gray seals, sometimes numbering in the low hundreds, began hauling out on sand flats on the inside of Tern Island, opposite the fish pier. And instead of a few s...

Shark Analysis Finds No Simple Solution

By: Kat Szmit

EASTHAM – The results of a 100-page shark mitigation study were released to the public last week and among all the compiled data there was one clear message: There is no solution available that can guarantee the safety of beachgoers determined to venture into the water during peak shark season. The report, and its primary message, was the subject of a public forum held Oct. 16 at Nauset Regional High School, duri...

BREWSTER – When it comes to living with white sharks, there are many options: stay out of the water, move inland, or, if you're Greg Skomal, a marine biologist with the state Division of Marine Fisheries, you do all that you can to learn as much as you can about the creatures, and ideally save a life or two in the process. Skomal has been doing just that—studying everything possible about white sharks—for more...

WELLFLEET — With emotion still raw after a fatal shark attack on Newcomb Hollow Beach less than two weeks earlier, there was a spirited discussion in Wellfleet last Thursday evening about how to keep beachgoers safe. There were renewed calls for reducing the number of seals off the outer beach as a means of deterring sharks. Most such measures would be prohibited by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, ...

CHATHAM — Conflicts between people and seals are nothing new on the Lower Cape, where fishermen have long faulted them for depleting fish stocks and fouling the water. But with two recent cases of people being bitten by seals in Chatham – and naturally with last weekend’s fatal shark attack in Wellfleet – there are renewed calls to examine the issue. Chatham resident Elaine Gibbs asked the board of selectmen...

Entanglement Probably Drowned Right Whale Found Off Monomoy

By: Cape Cod Chronicle

CHATHAM – The North Atlantic right whale found dead on Monomoy Island last week most likely drowned after being entangled in fishing gear, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Scientists from the Yarmouth-based International Fund for Animal Welfare performed a necropsy on the whale Aug. 30 and documented 11 lesions, including several linear depressions and bruises that are co...

Aggressive Seals Bite Two At Ryder's Cove

By: Tim Wood

CHATHAM – Before her family boarded a charter boat for a day of fishing last Wednesday, 17-year-old Beth Fineberg rinsed her hands in the water off the float at the Ryder's Cove town landing. She'd seen seals swimming about 20 feet out and thought nothing of it. Then she felt a sharp pain in her hands. “It came up from under me and bit a couple of fingers,” she said. She immediately pulled her hands away from ...

CHATHAM - Each year, it seems that there are more protected piping plovers nesting on area beaches than the year before. Ospreys, once on the brink of extinction, can be seen everywhere. And don't even start with seals, which can be found by the tens of thousands on Monomoy but are protected by federal law. If you’ve ever wondered why, you’re not alone.   Piping plovers Given the number of times they s...

Experts: Give Cute Seal Pups A Wide Berth

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — Federal officials are issuing a familiar warning to boaters and beach goers. Seal pups are on the shore, and getting too close is dangerous – and illegal. Local police departments get scores of calls from well-intended citizens each spring about young harbor seals on the beach. The pups are often left alone on the shore for as long as 24 hours while the mother feeds just offshore. That behavior is ...

Official: Stage Harbor Minke Whale Was Sick

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — Officials say a minke whale that spent last Thursday in Stage Harbor before dying in the Oyster River apparently had an underlying health condition that caused it to become stranded. The 18-foot long whale was first spotted in the area of the Eldredge trap dock before 6 a.m. Thursday, and onlookers watched in amazement as it swam under the floats at Old Mill Boat Yard. When it emerged from under th...

CHATHAM — Two young humpback whales that died on Monomoy Island last week are being tracked as part of what researchers call an “unusual mortality event” that includes five dead humpbacks in Massachusetts and 46 around the region in the past two years. On Monday, June 19, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was alerted to a dead humpback on the island, and notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser...

HARWICH ─ Dissections are a typical part of most high school biology classes, but thanks to a special partnership between Monomoy Regional High School and the Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, students in Adriana Picariello's Marine Science class recently had the unique opportunity to necropsy a quartet of Kemp's ridley sea turtles. “The Audubon rescues the stranded turtles and sends them off to...

On Monday afternoon roughly three miles off the shores of South Monomoy Island, a vessel rocked slowly on gentle swells as those on board peered eagerly at the water, hoping for one thing: the slice of a fin through the waves. Unfortunately, it was a shark-free day aboard the OCEARCH shark research boat, but the day provided an opportunity for guests joining the crew to learn a bit about what goes on “out there.”...

Wayward Manatee Rescued, Found To Be Pregnant

By: Alan Pollock

The manatee that visited Harwich waters over the summer got a surprise last Thursday when it was captured by marine mammal rescue experts and shuttled to the Mystic Aquarium for rehabilitation. And then it had a surprise for researchers. It's pregnant. On Tuesday, veterinarians were conducting a routine medical exam on the manatee, named “Washburn” after the island in Falmouth where it was rescued. “An u...

The manatee that visited Harwich waters over the summer got a surprise last Thursday when it was captured by marine mammal rescue experts and shuttled to the Mystic Aquarium for rehabilitation. And then it had a surprise for researchers. It's pregnant. On Tuesday, veterinarians were conducting a routine medical exam on the manatee, named “Washburn” after the island in Falmouth where it was rescued. “An u...

Team Effort Saves Young Humpback Whale Off Chatham

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — Thanks to quick work by a charter boat operator, the Coast Guard and the Center for Coastal Studies, a young humpback whale was freed from fishing gear off Chatham Friday afternoon. Captain Darren Saletta of Monomoy Sportfishing and a fishing party were about two-and-a-half miles east of Chatham when they came upon the juvenile whale tangled in lobster gear. The whale was “extremely fatigued, strug...