Shark sightings are no surprise on Cape Cod, but a new study from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, UMass Dartmouth, and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries highlighted a new study that may be terrifying for some SouthCoast swimmers.

CBS News reported the findings by the three institutions and the research is a first-of-its-kind study, finding that Cape Cod is one of the world’s largest hotspots for great white sharks.

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The Report’s Findings

The study finds that about 800 white sharks swam through Cape Cod waters between 2015 and 2018, and it’s the first time scientists have estimated “white shark abundance” in the North Atlantic Ocean.

“In the early 2000s, the number of reported white shark sightings began to increase, particularly along the eastern coastline of Cape Cod, Massachusetts,” said the report. “This increase has largely been attributed to the local population recovery of gray seals…following the 1972 passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, but also likely reflects the preliminary recovery of the white shark population itself.”

Due to the sharks hunting for “locally abundant pinniped prey” along the Cape, targeted research efforts are now accessible for the first time.

Through those findings and from almost 3,000 videos collected during 137 research trips, researchers identified 393 individual white sharks.

What Does This Mean for Cape Cod Swimmers?

CBS News report that experts are anticipating dozens to hundreds of white sharks to make their way to the Cape this season, and scientists with the New England Aquarium are urging people to download the Sharktivity App to report shark sightings.

When it comes to shark-infested waters, the report says, “Don’t panic.”

While some sharks stick around, many of these sharks are simply swimming by on their way to other waters, and the data collected is over an extended period of time.

The organizations involved in the report hope their findings result in more shark safety and educational programs to keep sharks and humans coexisting in harmony.

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