Sharktivity App Allows Users to Track Individual Great Whites

A screen grab of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Sharktivity app shows the activity of a single shark.

HYANNIS – Great white sharks will soon be making their way back to Cape Cod and an addition to a popular smartphone app will allow users to track their favorites.

The new function within the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Sharktivity app will allow shark fans to select individual animals, including Luke, Chex, Salty and Mr. Frisky, from a drop down menu and follow them on their journey.

“We know that people get excited about hearing about particular sharks,” said Cynthia Wigren, the executive director of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. “So we thought it would be a great idea to be able to update the app so that people could follow individual sharks and track the sharks they want to keep an eye on.”

Two white sharks equipped with satellite tags this winter off South Carolina, Miss Carolina and Hunter, can be tracked in real-time.

“We’ll be looking to see when they possibly visit the Cape this summer,” Wigren said.

White sharks began appearing in greater numbers of the coast of the Cape in 2009 and the public’s interest with them has increased ever since.

Many of the sharks bear names inspired by the local community, including Specialist Brian K. Arsenault, a soldier from Northboro who died in Afghanistan at the age of 28. A dream of Arsenault was to cage dive in Mexico and to swim with great white sharks.

Now his family and friends follow 12-footer SPC Brian K Arsenault on the app.

The Sharktivity app launched last summer to allow residents to track shark sightings and activity and has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

The app is available for apple and android devices.

“Anyone who has the app will already have the new functionality,” Wigren said.

She also encouraged anyone who doesn’t already have Sharktivity to download it.

“Through the summer as the sharks are returning we also do put alerts out on the app so there is a public safety feature of this as well,” Wigren said. “If sharks are seen close to shore an alert will go out about that.”

In mid-June, the Conservancy will start the fourth year of a five-year great white shark population study by the Division of Marine Fisheries.

“The process will be the same working with a spotter pilot, getting video footage of the sharks to be able to I.D. them,” Wigren said.

There were 147 individual white sharks identified off the coast of Cape Cod last year.

“It will be interesting to see what happens in year four if that number goes up or if it is similar,” Wigren said.


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