Shark Expert Investigates Stranding Of Great White On Cape Cod Beach

Article Courtesy: | by: Bill Shields | Originally published: Sept 7, 2015 | Please click here for original article.

Dozens of beachgoers tried to save a stranded shark over the weekend. The state’s leading shark expert is trying to figure out what happened to the great white.

Dr. Greg Skomal did not have a pleasant job Monday, cataloging shark parts, from the necropsy of a 14-foot great white. Skomal is still trying to figure out why it stranded.

“I think it just got into shallow water and stranded, and just couldn’t get back out,” Dr. Skomal said. “You know that’s a very complex system on the east side of Cape Cod. Lots of sandbars, sharks are moving in tight to feed on the seals, the seals are really tight to the beach, and the shark got in too close and stranded.”

It was Sunday when the great white stranded itself on a beach in Wellfleet. Hundreds of people tried to save the 14-foot male but he died.


Above: A crowd gathers near a beached shark. (Image Credit: Jack Cohen Photography)

Dr. Skomal said there were no signs of injury.

“You know we had no physical trauma to the shark as far as we could tell,” Dr. Skomal said. “None of the boat prop stuff, no sign of fishing or had been caught or messed with in any way.”

In the past decade, more and more great whites are showing up on the outer Cape Cod beaches, likely drawn by the seals whose population is increasing dramatically.

But while the presence of the sharks has actually increased tourism in places like Chatham, some fear that there will be more encounters between the great whites and humans.

During all of last summer, state officials identified 68 great white sharks off of Chatham. So far this season, they have already identified 80.

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