Great White Shark Sightings Erupt on East Coast Ahead of Fourth of July Weekend
It’s like the set-up for a “Jaws” reboot.
Anyone planning to enjoy Fourth of July festivities on the coastal Massachusetts hotspot of Cape Cod may want to reconsider.
It’s not just the awful lines of traffic backing up across the Sagamore Bridge in 80-degree temps that should give you pause: A whopping 11 great white sharks were spotted by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy research team in one day earlier this week on Cape Cod Bay, the Boston Herald reports.
Researcher Greg Skomal even managed to tag two of the apex predators—a 9-footer and a 10-footer.
If this sounds like the prelude to another Jaws sequel or even a reboot, there’s a good reason.
Though Steven Spielberg’s original tale of a monstrous, man-eating great white was set in the fictional New York resort town of Amity, Long Island, filming took place on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Cape Cod is just 50 miles north and east of there.
As for the real-life infestation, marine biologists believe it is directly related to an abundance of gray seals.
The species’ population has exploded since gaining protection under the Endangered Species Act, but that legislation obviously doesn’t apply to hungry great whites.
“We think it really is as simple as a larger number of seals,” Skomal said per CBS News. “More sharks coming closer to shore to feed on the seals.”
The Boston Herald quoted Tom King, a shark expert from Scituate, Mass., who said the booming great white numbers are “the new normal now.”
“For generations, everyone’s gone down to the beach and frolicked around in the salt water, going in and out of the water without any concerns,” King said, “There were no sharks here. Now, we have company.”
While great white attacks on humans are generally rare, Cape Cod did see its first fatality since 1932 just last year.
Beach-goers can keep themselves out of danger by staying away from seals or schools of fish and swimming in groups, according to Ryan Wright, acting chief ranger for Cape Cod National Seashore.
Alternatively, they could just celebrate Independence Day somewhere else.