Shark Merger: Two Advocacy Groups Join Forces

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 Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and the Chatham Shark Center have merged.

The two non-profit organizations will now become one group dedicated to great white shark research, education and public information.

Chatham Shark Center President Dave Ferraresi says merger talks began last fall after earlier talks to hold joint fundraising events.

“We could create a better visitor and educational center to showcase the research, focus on education programs and also public information programs using the Chatham Shark Center as the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s headquarters,” Ferraresi said.

Both organizations formed in 2012 and the Chatham Shark Center on Route 28 in North Chatham opened in June of 2015.

The facility will now become a hub for shark research and information in the northeastern part of the country.

The boards of directors for both organizations will merge to form just one board. Cynthia Wigren, the founder and board member of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy will serve as the executive director.

Dr. Gregory Skomal, a leading shark expert in the state, will remain as an advisor.

“It’s a win-win for us and also a great asset for the community and the visitors of the Cape,” Wigren said. “The Chatham Shark Center provides a tangible location where we can share the research we’re funding with the local community and visitors alike.”

The combined nonprofit will be named the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. The facility on Route 28 will remain the Chatham Shark Center.

“The town of Chatham has a spotlight on it already and there are signs up in the park that it is the summer home of the great white shark,” Wigren said. “There is already a lot of attention on that space and a lot of community support which has been wonderful and something that the Chatham Shark Center has truly appreciated so we wanted to make sure that stays in place.”

Along with shark related exhibits, visitors will also be able to attend educational programs, speaking events and other activities at the center.

The Gills Club will also be housed at the Center starting this spring.

Briefings will also be held by Skomal and other researchers at the center to keep the media and public informed of white shark activity off the coast of Cape Cod.

“Our goal is to provide residents, tourists, beach goers and beach managers with timely information and research that both improves public safety and inspires shark conservation,” Wigren said.


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