In the past year, Great White Shark sightings along the Cape have soared primarily due to the exploding seal population. According to David W. Johnson, Professor of Marine Ecology at Duke-Nicholas School of the Environment, there are currently between 30,000 and 50,000 gray seals off the southeastern coast of Massachusetts.
The exponential growth is largely due to the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Previously, gray seals were hunted for their furs and so they could not decimate the fish population. Massachusetts even paid a $ 5 per nose bounty. While some refer to this as "conservation success," others are becoming increasingly worried, especially Cape Cod fishermen.
"The seals cause a lot of problems," said Doug Brown, captain of recreational fishing charter boat Jennifer Ann, The fish catch the waters of Cape Cod Bay for striped bass, bluefish and bluefin from Rock Harbor in Orleans. "They eat several kilos of fish every day, they eat small baits, lobsters, striped perch, fluke, flounder, they eat everything, and they'll get to the point where they have to make a decision."
Brown said the seals attract the sharks, and while tourists are fascinated by them, they can be a challenge. "The sharks come straight out of the water to grab the bait, they're not shy, I've been out in the bay all my life, but I've never seen such great whites before, they're sometimes right under my boat." [1
Still, it's a blessing for scientists and educators who benefit from Cape Cod have become a mecca for great whites. So far, they have had to travel to California and other parts of the world to learn more about these legendary robbers.
Scientists have for the first time predictable access to white sharks in the Atlantic Ocean, said the leading shark expert and biologist dr. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
"We know of white sharks in other parts of the world … but in the Atlantic, we know virtually nothing about white sharks when it comes to their basic biology and … how to do this Animal lives, we think of the Great White Shark as a species that wants to get us, but that's not the case, white sharks need our help, we need to collect the data necessary to sustain that species, "said Skomal , a regular contributor to PBS, National Geographic and SharkWeek.