BOSTON — As the summer tourist season ramps up, the Coast Guard told recreational boaters and paddlers Friday to keep an eye out for predatory sharks in the ocean waters off
the Northeast, warning that the creatures could easily capsize a small boat or kayak.
The shark advisory, issued by the U.S. Coast Guard district that covers waters from Maine to New Jersey, came several days after the crew of a tuna boat caught and later released a 7-foot juvenile great white shark in the Stellwagen Bank fishing area, about 20 miles off Massachusetts.
Several great white sharks were spotted off Cape Cod last summer, and experts believe more will return this summer, attracted by the exploding local population of seals, a favorite shark food.
With a hot, sunny July Fourth weekend forecast, residents and tourists are expected to flock to beaches.
Massachusetts officials held a news conference this week to stress that no great whites … the kind of shark that taunted swimmers in the book and movie ""Jaws'' … had been spotted near beaches, and that beachgoers and swimmers should not be worried so long as they exercise ""common sense'' and avoid swimming near seals.
In the Coast Guard advisory, Al Johnson, a recreational boating specialist, said boaters and paddlers in the Northeast generally don't have to concern themselves with predators, and noted that shark attacks are extremely rare in the region.
"But I have no doubt that a great white shark that swims into your comfort zone would surely find a splashing paddle or dangling hand inviting,'' Johnson wrote. "I also expect that same passing shark would spend little time differentiating between boater, paddler and prey.''
Sharks spotted off New England have been as long as 15 feet, Johnson said.
Recreational boaters and kayakers should steer clear of seal colonies or passing pods of seals, Johnson said. And anyone who spots a shark should resist any temptation to go near it.
"I can also imagine the excitement most boaters and paddlers would have if they visually encountered a shark on our waters,'' he said. "However, things can and do go wrong on the water, and since a close encounter could easily have tragic consequence, I recommend an extreme degree of caution.''
Secretary of Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles said he anticipated more great white sightings this summer but did not foresee any beach closings.
The last fatal shark attack in Massachusetts was in 1936.
"We're going to need a bigger boat.... "
I shot this one in Ocean City , Md this year....
Last edited by SHARKEY-IMAGES; 07-03-2010 at 06:53 AM.
We are about 1 hour North of Boston and it feels like the entire month of June there have been sightings. Never even heard of some of these sharks before. Porbeagle sharks?
One common theme: Seals = Lunch!
By Susan Morse
June 15, 2010 2:00 AMYORK, Maine — Maine Marine Patrol saw and identified a porbeagle shark off Cape Neddick "Nubble" Lighthouse on Thursday, June 10, according to Sgt. Daryen Granata.
"It has the potential to be dangerous to humans," Granata said Monday. "I don't think there's any concern (for swimmers or surfers). I can't definitely say it's safe to swim. ... I can't make a determination with just one shark sighting. We've been in the area every day since then. We haven't seen another shark."
It's not unusual for a porbeagle to be this close to shore, in search of fish, he said.
"We've seen them around before; it's not abnormal," Granata said. "It may have moved in for a short time; the bait has been moving inshore."
Thursday's shark sighting was reported to York police at 2:11 p.m., by a person standing at Sohier Park at Nubble Light, according to the police log.
Maine Marine Patrol responded to the Nubble area and confirmed the presence of the shark.
No warnings have been posted at York Beach, according to the Parks and Recreation Department.
The June 10 sighting wasn't the only shark sighting reported in the past week.
U.S. Coast Guard officers on Saturday reported spotting two sharks about a mile and half off the coast of York, according to 3rd Class Machinery Technician Jeremy Richardson, Portsmouth Harbor's officer on duty on Monday.
Saturday's Coast Guard report came from a reservist and another officer who saw the sharks while doing routine operations, said Richardson. One of the officers took a photo of a fin sticking out of the water.
Having reviewed the images on Monday, New England Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse said shark researchers have been able to identify them as a pair of basking sharks, the second-largest shark in the world.
Based of their length of between 10 and 12 feet, LaCasse said the fish are believed to be juvenile. The species is common to New England waters.
"They are not a threat to people in any way," LaCasse said.
Basking sharks can grow up to 20 to 30 feet long and are a protected species known to eat only plankton.
LaCasse said basking sharks are the most common sharks reported in sightings.
The fish are very coastal, he said, and have been known to travel into estuaries and bays.
"They feed wherever plankton is available," he said.
LaCasse said the identification was made primarily based on the size of the fish and the image of the dorsal fin sticking out of the water.
Despite their aversion to humans and passive feeding, basking sharks should still be considered a "very large and powerful wild animal," cautioned LaCasse.
He said, despite there not being a shark fatality off the New England coast in the past 75 years, all wild animals in the water should be taken seriously and respected.
Charles McMahon contributed to this report.
Other than BTB attempting to change a prop a few weeks ago has anyone else on here had a SHARK incident ?????
I spotted a dark shadow in the waters of Sunny Isles on Test Day. I was considering getting out on the sand bar and shoot from the water up to get a whole new look. After seeing this long dark shadow make its way through some bathers even though without incident, I decided to stay on a 75 ft Sunseeker instead...
GGEEEZZZ look at the teeth on that MF.
Can you imagine that biting into your leg ????!!!!
They are like the spikes at a parking garage. They are angled so you can get in, but the damage can really hurt when trying to get out !
A good hit to the nose then tend to swim away... But you only get one shot !
I think we are going to check out the Monster Shark tournament on Martha's Vineyard this year. My boys (3 & 5) are just old enough where they think the blood & guts are cool vs. scary.
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