Meetings Continue on Outer Cape in Wake of Shark Infested Summer

CHATHAM – Meetings discussing the details of the recent shark attacks off the Outer Cape this summer as well as possible life-saving preventative measures that can be taken have continued in Oceanside communities on the Cape.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy held a shark working group meeting in Chatham last week.

At the meeting were shark experts from the Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries, UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science & Technology and the University of Florida. The experts were joined public safety professionals from the Cape Cod National Seashore and the towns of Chatham, Orleans, Wellfleet, Truro, Provincetown, Eastham, Dennis, Barnstable, Scituate and Plymouth.

A heavy focus of the discussion was on the limited cell phone service to Outer Cape beaches and equipping the public with “Stop the Bleed” training for shark attacks, as well as supplying shark bite specific medical kits. Including area hotels, motels, and the rental community in the shark safety awareness campaign, shark detection technologies, and acquiring additional ATVs or off-road vehicles for the beaches were also considered.  

Longtime Shark Program Coordinator at the University of Florida George Burgess suggested developing seasonal trauma centers on the Outer Cape.

The working group also discussed other challenges related to shark incidents on the Cape, including incidents that occur after hours or the summer season on ocean facing beaches.

Both the shark experts and public safety officials at the meeting expressed concerns the number of swimmers and surfers observed ignoring water closures following the fatal September shark attack at Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet

Dr. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries argues that a more detailed understanding of the Cape’s coastal topography could help to better understand how sharks are utilizing area beaches for hunting in the summer.

The next meeting is expected to take place in the third week of October.

By TIM DUNN, News Center 

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