Shark Expert Calls for More Reliable Beach Communication

TRURO – Following last month’s great white attack, state shark expert Dr. Greg Skomal recently gave a wide-ranging presentation to Truro Selectmen.

Along with discussing great white research and tagging being conducted off the Outer Cape, Skomal recommended communities improve cell communications at remote beaches.

William Lytton, 61, of Scarsdale, New York, was attacked on August 15 in water about 10 feet deep off Longnook Beach.

Other beachgoers — including off duty nurses and other medical professionals — helped stem the bleeding and carried him up the dunes to the beach parking lot as he started to lose consciousness from the blood loss.

Lytton was airlifted to Tufts Medical Center in Boston where he said he was placed into a two-day coma, underwent six surgeries and had nearly 12 pints of blood pumped into him.

“This victim was extremely lucky because there were people nearby who helped and word got out very quickly,” said Skomal, a senior fisheries biologist with the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries. “But I think there are some zones, particularly in the northern part of the Outer Cape, where you can’t reach public safety staff and emergency medical staff readily.”

Skomal told selectmen that improving communications is an area that the town might want to look at improving.

Other than improving communications, Skomal said there really isn’t much that the town can do to prevent future attacks as newer technologies like ballons, drones and sonar are expensive and require man power to operate, which would cost even more money.

“I’m not so sure there is much more that Truro can do to be honest,” Skomal said.

Skomal believes it is just a coincidence that the last two shark attacks on the Cape – last month and in 2012 – occurred in Truro, but says researchers have seen higher numbers this year of white sharks from Head of the Meadow Beach to Race Point.

“We don’t know if it is an artifact of our sampling because you have such beautiful, shallow water there and we can see the sharks much better than we might be able to see them in some of the other areas just to the south – or whether there is something unique about that area,” Skomal said.

Skomal said researchers are hoping to team with the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown to conduct some fine-scale, high-resolution mapping of the area.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, working with Skomal, are in the final year of a five-year white shark population study.

About NewsCenter

The award-winning NewsCenter provides the Cape Cod community with a constant, credible source for local news. We are on the job seven days a week.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy