Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Looking Ahead to 2022

CHATHAM – The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is reporting a strong summer of attendance and interest in their ongoing work and research.

Education Director Marianne Walsh  said the organization’s research team and educational programs had a busy summer.

“It was an exciting year because we expanded our SharkSmart beach program and extended our outreach up to the town of Truro at Head of the Meadow beach,” said Walsh.

“We were also able to increase capacity at our outreach facility in Chatham, and got the ball rolling for our new outreach facility up in Provincetown.

“This past summer it was a storefront,” she said of the new facility, “and right now we’re getting the permits ready to renovate the back end of that space to make it a second museum. So when we go into 2022, we will actually have two separate outreach locations for families to go and learn about shark activity.”

Walsh reported high attendance for the organization’s White Shark Expeditions, with sold out bookings for the month of August indicating a growing interest in ecotourism related to the apex predators.

“It was incredible to see the response and enthusiasm from people who realize that the Cape is now a destination for white shark ecotourism, and that they can take a trip here where they’re staying at hotels, dining at restaurants, and have the opportunity to go and see white sharks in their natural habitat,” said Walsh.

The Conservancy witnessed growth in their college internship program, with all available internship positions filled during the summer. Overall volunteer numbers dropped due to the COVID pandemic.

As research winds down and the organization looks towards the fall, the organization will turn its attention toward educational programs in local schools and specialty programs and community events planned for the AWSC Shark Center in Chatham such as a weekly story-hour program and a trick or treating event in October.

The Chatham location is using a reservation system for booking through the fall and has kept capacity limits in place throughout the pandemic.

The organization will also be designing and installing the exhibits at the Provincetown location, with plans to fully open the new museum in the Spring of 2022.

The Conservancy issued a reminder to the public that white sharks remain in the region through September and October, and to exercise caution when entering the water.

“We have these beautiful local days taking place right now,” said Walsh, “but if people are using the water recreationally, we want to remind them that sharks are still in the area, so they need to be mindful.”

By, Matthew Tomlinson, NewsCenter

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