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Sharks spotted off Cape Cod ahead of Memorial Day weekend

As the unofficial start of summer approaches, experts are warning of increased shark activity along popular Memorial Day weekend spots on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod.

Researchers at the New England Aquarium issued an advisory Thursday for people returning to Cape Cod’s pristine waters.

John Chisholm, an adjunct scientist at the aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Marine Life Center, said although researchers haven’t spotted any great whites this season, they’re certainly there.

“We haven’t seen a great white yet this season, but we know they’re here,” Chisholm said.

“With bad weather in the forecast for beaches and Memorial Day Weekend approaching, this is a good time to remind people to review shark safety guidelines and be smart about sharks.”

Experts say several marine mammals were recently found suffering from shark bites off the coast of Massachusetts, a timely warning for those braving the state’s frigid waters.

Experts say several marine mammals were recently found suffering from shark bites off the coast of Massachusetts. Damon Burden / Pythias Sportfishing
Researchers at the New England Aquarium issued an advisory Thursday for people returning to Cape Cod’s pristine waters. Damon Burden / Pythias Sportfishing

Chisholm recently photographed a seal in Plymouth with fresh bite marks.

The aquarium also received a report from a fishing charter company that a minke whale was bitten by a great white shark off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts, on May 21.

The bite is a timely warning of sharks’ presence on Cape Cod’s white sand beaches.

A flag bearing a shark warning sign flies as swimmers depart from Nauset Beach in Orleans, Massachusetts, on July 26, 2023. Getty Images

As temperatures rise and people head to the beaches, Chisholm and the aquarium stress the importance of “watching for sharks in shallow waters, avoiding areas where seals are present or schools of fish are visible, and staying close to shore so emergency responders can arrive if needed.”

According to the aquarium, more than 15 species of sharks live off the New England coast at different times throughout the year.

The aquarium noted that people can report shark sightings and get information about their activity. Atlantic White Shark Conservation Society’s Sharktivity App.

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