Great white sharks take over Cape Cod as study finds concentration in the world!

Cape Cod, Massachusetts - Researchers recently found that Cape Cod may boast the highest density of great white sharks in the whole world.

Cape Cod may be home to the highest shark density in the world.
Cape Cod may be home to the highest shark density in the world.  © 123RF/surz

Sharks and beachgoers may have something in common: they both love Cape Cod.

Researchers at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) recently told National Geographic they now know how many sharks hang out in the waters of the popular northeast vacation spot.

Spoiler alert: it's a lot.

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According to the report, somewhere between 800 and 900 sharks swam along 560 miles of protected coastline near Cape Cod between 2015 and 2018. This estimate, which researchers made using acoustic tracking, photographic identification, and statistical modeling, is surprising.

In comparison, only 300 sharks are estimated to swim around California's central coast. Researchers say there are between 800 and 1,000 sharks around the area known as Shark Ally around South Africa's Dyer Island.

Megan Winton, a scientist whose data is still in the pre-publication stage, told National Geographic, that this number means Cape Cod has "potentially the highest density of sharks in the world."

Cape Cod return seals the deal for sharks

Sharks concentrate in areas with large population of gray seal.
Sharks concentrate in areas with large population of gray seal.  © 123RF/dirkr

According to Greg Skomal, senior fisheries scientist and a co-author of the forthcoming paper, "You really can't think of any other location where white sharks attempting to feed on seals overlap with human activity."

Sharks are hanging out around the East Coast because their favorite food has returned: gray seals.

These animals were extinct back in the 70s, but thanks to animal protections, the population has rebounded to about 50,000 and the numbers in the eastern US have also increased, making the popular tourist destination a great white feeding ground.

Shark attacks remain rare

Statistically, shark attacks are extremely rare. Simmers are more likely to drown and get bitten. That said, five people have been bitten in Cape Cod since 2012 and one incident in 2018 was fatal.

Luckily, shark detection systems have also improved in recent years. Researchers in Cape Cod have tagged some 303 sharks, and the public can follow the animals in real-time on the Sharktivity app.

It's not a bad idea to keep an aye on them, as the Cape Cod's sharks tend to hang out close to shore and in shallow water. Most adult sharks, which are between eight and 12 feet long, spend about half their time in 15 feet of water or less.

What's more according to Megan, these animals blend into their surroundings, "it’s incredible how camouflaged they can be. People might be right next to them and don’t even see them."

Cover photo: 123RF/surz

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