Record Season For Shark Detections

HYANNIS – The Rhode Island-based Atlantic Shark Institute reported that this season has seen the largest number of great white shark detections of any season previous as part of their long-term study.

According to Executive Director Jon Dodd, all of the sharks were found to be previously tagged by Dr. Greg Skomal from the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries off the coast of Cape Cod.

ASI has detected a total of eight sharks since the beginning of the 2020 research season, the two most recent of which were a 9 foot female at Point Judith and an 8’6” female off of Block Island, both tagged in 2019 by Dr. Skomal off the Cape’s coast.

Dodd said that as they continue to add acoustic receivers as part of their long-term study, ASI continues to see an increase in great white shark presence.

He expects that the increase in shark detection will eventually level-off after adding enough receivers, though he does not know when that will be.

Dodd said that with the data that tagging sharks provides alongside detection from acoustic receivers set up by the ASI’s long-term study, a larger picture is starting to be assembled of great white shark habits and general locations.

“We’re really starting to put together an interesting puzzle that’s going to allow us to get out of the silos, share data, and give us a sense of where are these sharks going through, where are they taking up residence, and how far north are they going in certain numbers,” said Dodd.

Data collected by collaboration will help determine what times a year white sharks are present in northern waters for, as well as what routes they take when they travel.

Dodd said that data sharing between different New England studies has greatly improved understanding of the marine animals.

“With this kind of collaborative work, we’re going to answer more and more of those questions each and every year, which is exciting,” said Dodd.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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