Recent research has shown that the white shark population has increased along the East Coast. Therefore, officials doubled their efforts to find the best solution to provide the safety of millions of beachgoers.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts is already a popular place because many shark species live here. New signs and warning flags have appeared along the coastline’s most crowded beaches. Plus, researchers are currently developing a shark tracking app that will come in handy for every person that wants to swim in these waters.
In the meanwhile, scientists from the University of North Carolina and Duke University are testing shark-seeking drones that are expected to become a great asset for beach lifeguards in the future. According to Gregory Skomal, a state biologist from Massachusetts, it is important for the public to understand that these waters are home to sharks.
Skomal’s team recorded 144 white shark specimens in 2015 and 80 others in 2014. In addition to this, other species such as mako and blue sharks live here as well. Nevertheless, most of them live far offshore and are less aggressive than white sharks.
Seals are the main reason why great white sharks are attracted to the waters of Cape Cod. Back in 1972, a law made seal killing illegal and led to a significant increase in their numbers since then.
Public safety officials, beach managers, and researchers have been collaborating in the past few years to develop efficient programs for public education. Warning flags were one of the ideas as they are purple and emblazoned with the silhouette of a white shark.
Furthermore, visitors are advised to avoid swimming near seals because they will most like put themselves in great danger. Plus, these measures will receive high-tech reinforcement in July, when the water of Cape Cod will be warm enough, and white sharks will start to roam the areas.
Chatham-based Atlantic Great White Conservancy will launch a smartphone app that will grant beachgoers the possibility to monitor the tagged white sharks’ movements and avoid them. Regarding the drones, researchers are trying to establish whether they will be able to track sharks accurately on the East Coast. Plus, they intend to attach infrared cameras on the drones to better observe shark movement even in turbid water.