What to know about Cape Cod’s Sharks

Shark finSharks – they are on a lot of people’s mind this week with Shark Week being broadcast everywhere! We thought it would be fun to talk about Cape Cod’s sharks since we are so in tune with the water around here.

There’s no doubt that sharks are polarizing, you either love them and think they’re super interesting, or you don’t and just the thought of them freaks you out and makes you not want to go into the water, even on a boat. If you are the latter, please close this window and go find something that makes you happy to read about. We promise we won’t be offended!

Why are there so many Sharks in Cape Cod?

Now that all the shark lovers are here, we think that sharks are SO cool. They are powerful, sleek, vary so much in the different species found throughout the world, and have qualities that you don’t see in many other fish, like how their bodies are made from cartilage instead of bones. Some of the world’s largest sharks have been found around the Cape, and for good reason: we have temperate waters and a movable feast of seals and fish. Since the passing of the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act, more seals have crowded popular Cape beaches, bringing with them the famed apex predators.

Shark swimming in the oceanHow many Teeth do Sharks have?

Ever wonder why it’s common to find shark teeth on beaches and when diving? Unlike bony fish, sharks’ teeth are not anchored in their jaw and sharks often lose teeth, especially when feeding. Sharks are equipped with three or more rows of teeth, so when a tooth is lost another tooth quickly replaces it. A single shark may have as many as 30,000 teeth throughout the course of its life.

How to see Sharks in Cape Cod?

People are rightly curious about this finned phenomenon – and in the past few years, “shark tourism” brought droves of people from across the region to see these graceful and powerful creatures. You can dive to see sharks on both islands and from Cape Cod, visit the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy in Chatham, and go fishing and try to catch the smaller species of sharks. These are just a few of the options available to visitors and locals alike to experience some close encounters with Cape Cod’s sharks.

Are there Great White Sharks in Cape Cod?

There are 13 species of shark that can be found in and around Cape Cod’s waters, but the most common are – Shortfin Mako Sharks, Basking Sharks, Great White Sharks, Porbeagle Sharks, Spiny Dogfish, and Blue Sharks.

Be Shark Smart sign

All ocean beaches on Cape Cod have sharks. But Great Whites are more often documented on the outer cape beaches, stretching from Monomoy Island and Chatham all the way up Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown. On Nantucket, sharks are less prevalent but still found along the island’s southern coast where it is exposed to open waters. On Martha’s Vineyard it seems that great white shark sightings are common off the coasts, and just last summer a 883lb shark, Freya, was spotted off the southern coast of the island.

Obviously, it might be frightening to see a shark in the wild, but it’s fascinating to share our oceans with these powerful creatures. They are actually very gentle and do not want to harm humans unless they are guarding resources or mistake us for food.

Happy Shark Week!

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