Public Meeting Scheduled Tonight to Discuss Cape Cod Shark Issues

Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet one hour after a fatal shark attack

WELLFLEET – A community meeting has been scheduled for Thursday night on the Outer Cape to discuss the recent fatal shark attack in Wellfleet.

Officials will also address the larger issue of how to best manage the increasing numbers of great white sharks off local beaches.

Wellfleet Town Administrator Dan Hoort said the meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at the Wellfleet Elementary School.

Hoort said everything will be on the table in terms of discussion points as they want to see what we can do to protect beachgoers.

“We hope to bring in a couple of experts in shark activity to help facilitate the conversation,” Hoort said.

“We want to hear from them and we want to hear from the community.”

Representatives from the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and many local lawmakers and town officials are being invited.

Hoort is also hoping Dr. Greg Skomal, the state’s shark expert and senior fisheries scientist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, will be able to attend.

Arthur Medici, of Revere, was fatally wounded by a shark bite on Saturday while boogie boarding at Newcomb Hollow Beach.

A New York man was bitten by a great white shark in Truro in August and survived his injuries.

Hoort said many people have reached out in recent days with suggestions on how to make the beaches safer.

A beachgoer read shark warning signs after a reported shark attack Thursday at Longnook Beach in Truro

“I would say [I have received] probably 15 to 20 emails a day from people with thoughts and ideas on what we might be able to do,” Hoort said.

Hoort said all ideas are welcome at the public meeting.

“We want to see whatever we can do to help protect people while still understanding that sharks are a natural creature in our oceans,” Hoort said.

Although he wants to hear from residents, Hoort said he also wants to educate them. He said killing the sharks is really not an option that can be considered.

“My personal belief is that going out and killing seals or killing sharks is not the answer here. It is not going to solve anything,” Hoort said.

“Even if it did it would take years and years for us to do that.”

Hoort believes the first priority should be getting better communications at the remote beaches.

“Because of the terrain it’s very hard to get cell service, if at all, down there,” he said. “What can we do to improve communications ability down there? That’s my number one goal right now.”

One idea would be the installation of direct call boxes to police stations similar to ones located around college campuses.

Hoort also recommends installing medical kits that can be equipped with materials to assist in treating shark bites until emergency medical personnel can get to the scene.

Hoort said he hoped some new safety measures would be in place before the next beach season.

“At a minimum, that communications ability has to be there,” Hoort said. “The ability to have emergency kits available at any point should be able to be done by next summer.”

Hoort said this should not be a slow process and that the region needs to move quickly on taking action.

“We know there is no easy answer, but we have to look and see what we can do – what’s possible,” he said.


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