National Seashore Hosts Cape Cod White Shark Workgroup

An underwater shot taken by researchers Friday. Courtesy of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

Courtesy of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

WELLFLEET – The Cape Cod National Seashore hosted a shark work group meeting last Tuesday.

The meeting brought together public safety professionals from the National Seashore, Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro Provincetown, Plymouth and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy to collaborate on shark research and safety efforts.

George Price is the Superintendent of the National Seashore.

“The bottom line is that we are still committed to not only learn about these animals from a scientific point of view but what is the proactive public safety education piece we should be doing, what about the awareness with our public and certainly what should our response be over time,” said George Price, the superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

The meeting included presentations from local shark experts and one from Cape Town, South Africa.

Dr. Greg Skomal, from the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries, presented the latest preliminary information of white shark movements, population study and predatory behavior.

Cynthia Wigren, the president and co-founder of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy brought Dr. Alison Kock to speak at the meeting. Kock is the lead scientist for the Shark Spotter Program in Cape Town.

Kock gave an in depth look at the evolution, successes and challenges of her city’s shark spotter program and reviewed the approach toward white shark species protection and public safety efforts.

I thought it was a great use of time,” said Price. “I was fortunate to be able to join the group and listen to the presentations myself and certainly appreciate Greg Skomal and Cynthia’s participation and thank very much Dr. Kock to be able to join us on this visit.”

Price said that Kock was impressed with how aggressive the region has been with educational outreach, signage and how coordinated the communities have been.

Price said Kock discussed how Cape Town handles public safety and strategies.

“One of the realities is that we are dealing with a very different piece of geography and different requirements,” Price said. “But I think it is still advantageous for us to learn what is happening in other places in the world.”

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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