Sharks, Dolphins Spotted in Marine Monument Off Cape Cod Waters

A hammerhead shark spotted in the Seamounts Marine National Monument. Photo courtesy New England Aquarium.

HYANNIS – New England Aquarium officials flew over federally-protected waters off Cape Cod and saw over 500 different kinds of marine animals during a recent aerial survey.

Researchers with the aquarium travelled to the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, located 130 miles southeast of the Cape, on August 14 to conduct their work.

Over the course of a couple hours, the researchers saw 86 hammerhead sharks, two tiger sharks, a blue shark, and a whale shark.

One-hundred sixty nine Risso’s dolphins, 86 bottlenose dolphins, 75 striped dolphins, 24 Atlantic spotted dolphins, and 16 common dolphins were also observed.

Additionally, the team spotted 32 Chilean devil rays, 10 ocean sunfish, 15 pilot whales, two fin whales, and four unidentified beaked whales.

Bottlenose dolphins. Photo courtesy New England Aquarium.

With five years of aerial surveys over the waters, Aquarium researchers put out a recent study demonstrating the Monument protects a variety of marine creatures.

The Monument is a 5,000 square-mile area that hosts four underwater mountains and three deep sea canyons, according to the Aquarium.

The biodiversity hotspot was first made a Marine National Monument in 2016 by President Obama.

In 2020, President Trump lifted a ban on commercial fishing in the area.

Officials with the aquarium said their data suggested commercial fishing in the Monument would increase the likelihood of entanglement, bycatch, and habitat loss to animals.

Protections to the area were brought back in 2021 by President Biden.

The aquarium says its research at the Canyons and Monument supports the need for federally-protected marine areas.

By Brian Engles, NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.
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