Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Chatham Shark Center Opens

Courtesy: Atlantic White Shark Conservancy First great white shark of 2015 tagged off Chatham

Courtesy: Atlantic White Shark Conservancy
First great white shark of 2015 tagged off Chatham

CHATHAM – The newly renovated Chatham Shark Center opened for the first time over the weekend since the center merged with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

The center on Route 28 in North Chatham features exhibits about the history of white sharks, the movie Jaws and the shift of public perception towards conservation, according to Cynthia Wigren, the executive director of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

“It was a big weekend for us,” Wigren said. “We were really excited to open the center to the public for the first time this season.”

Wigren said the favorite exhibit of attendees was the new virtual reality shark diving experience.

“It’s something that we had a line of people waiting for their turn to be able to dive, basically, underwater in this 3D experience with sharks at night,” she said.

The two shark advocacy organizations, which both formed in 2012, merged in March to become one group dedicated to great white shark research, education and public information. The Chatham Shark Center opened in June of 2015.

Board member and past president of the former Chatham Shark Center Dave Ferraresi said the new center received strong feedback from donors.

“I think people are interested to know more about what’s happening in the Cape Cod waters,” Ferraresi said. “And I think Cynthia’s organization, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, has kind of shined the light on that with the efforts of Greg Skomal to basically create more awareness with what’s happening.”

The new center will provide a space to showcase the research being conducted in area waters and increase the public’s awareness to provide a safer in water experience on Cape Cod.

“We believe we have created an opportunity from probably the most memorable visitor experience on Cape Cod this summer but certainly in Chatham this summer,” Ferraresi said.

The center hosted about 4,000 visitors in its first year last summer.

“It all has tied together really well and we were excited to see a lot of smiling faces and a positive response,” Wigren said.

Wigren said the conservancy is looking to get back on the water for the summer research season in about two weeks.


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