Sightings don’t usually occur until mid-June, but have been reported in late May


Just when we were planning to unplug, spread out a towel and spend this summer by the beach, reports show unusual activity off the Atlantic. And that big white activity comes with its own iconic theme song.

We call it: it’s the summer of the sharks.

On Cape Cod and its islands, shark numbers are already on the rise, and people are scanning the water for that distinctive fin, according to NBC News Boston. Usually these toothy fish aren’t seen in the area until mid-June, but already around a dozen have been spotted, the first on May 29. This sighting involved a great white shark seen near Great Point Lighthouse in Nantucket. The shark was filmed devouring a seal in a portcullis video posted in a tweet by Nantucket Current.

There was an even earlier unconfirmed sighting at Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro on May 23 which was reported to the Sharktivity app. What is it, you say? Yes, there is a shark tracking app, created by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which allows you to share white shark sightings and upload videos to alert others to possible blood in the water scenarios. The app icons are adorable – little white dorsal fins on a blue background – despite the gruesome possibilities they represent.

The app is both outsourced, with ordinary people able to post sightings that will be verified by the New England Aquarium, and provided with official posts. These official publications include data from acoustic beacons of sharks and intelligent position and temperature transmission beacons that can be affixed to the dorsal fins of sharks. When the sharks come to the surface, the beacons transmit radio waves to satellites orbiting Earth more than 600 miles away.

Other sightings via the app include a June 1 sighting of four great whites off Nantucket, including a giant that was “easily over 15 feet tall” with a large chunk of its tail missing. The same day, another report identified three great whites off Tuckernuck Island feeding on a dead whale. On June 5, a shark was spotted eating a seal off Nantucket with the description “rash”, and off Chatham Beach someone uploaded a photo of a pool of blood with a dorsal fin. In the center. People have also reported that several seal carcasses have washed up on beaches that appear to have been raided by sharks.

But it’s not just this particular shoreline that saw sharks in early summer. In a very early case, on April 28, a 998-pound great white was swimming off the coast of New Jersey, according to its tracking website Osearch and reported by Discovery. It’s a 12-foot-long, 20-year-old shark named Ironbound. Later, he “pinged” the site in the Atlantic east of Philadelphia.

Ironbound continues to make leads. Osearch found him on May 9 swimming just off Pamlico Sound in North Carolina, as reported by MarketWatch. He travels back and forth between the Florida Keys and Nova Scotia on his typical migration tours. You can track it yourself here. His last ping was May 25 at Brown’s Bank, off Plymouth, Massachusetts.

On May 30, a commercial fisherman spotted a 10-foot Mako shark struggling on a Long Island beach until it was able to swim away, also reported by Discovery.

On June 4, off the coast of Jersey, a fisherman nearly ran over a 10- to 13-foot-long shark with his 23-foot boat, as reported by the New York Post.

And as early as December 2021, Osearch tracked 100 sharks congregating off the East Coast, also according to the New York Post. Experts said it was not uncommon – and Dr Christopher Lowe, director of California State University’s Shark Lab, said climate change was likely to blame for the sharks’ shifting schedule.

So how do you stay safe? Don’t go in water above your waist, as white sharks tend to hang out in water less than 15 feet deep. Beware of purple flags placed by lifeguards warning of shark sightings. And keep a sense of fascination rather than terror: sharks rarely attack. The NBC News message says the 2020 fatal shark attack in Maine was the first in the state, and the 2018 fatal shark attack in Cape Code was the first fatal in Massachusetts in more than 80 year. The 1975 Jaws The film and its sequels, still commemorated at Universal Studios, have created undue fear in us, as we bet while reading this article you heard the two distinctive notes’ dunnnn dunn’ theme in your head.

However, we should note that the Terms of Service for the Sharktivity app states in capital letters that “the only way to avoid sharks is to stay ashore”.


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