Westport Beaches Closed After Shark Sighting
WESTPORT — Westport police have confirmed that public beaches have been closed to swimming for the rest of the day, after a shark was spotted Wednesday morning.
Sgt. Bryan McCarthy said a lifeguard on Stand 9 at Horseneck Beach saw the fin around 100 yards offshore some time before beach officials contacted police at 9:52 a.m. Wednesday.
Swimmers were immediately called out of the water, he said, and other Westport beaches — including Baker's and Cherry and Webb beaches — have been closed to swimming as well.
The news comes after a confirmed white shark sighting was reported by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy's Sharktivity app on July 10 in Buzzards Bay for the first time in over a year.
McCarthy noted that this is the first shark sighting so far this year, although sharks are rarely spotted in Buzzards Bay, according to sightings reported on the Sharktivity app.
A representative from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which tracks sharks in the area, could not immediately be reached for comment.
According to the Sharktivity app, a white shark's dorsal fin was spotted at the surface of the water around a quarter of a mile north of the Weepecket Islands in Buzzards Bay just three days ago.
The small islands are located to the north of Naushon Island, one of the Elizabeth Islands that form a chain between the SouthCoast and Martha's Vineyard.
The vast majority of shark sightings reported by the app occur on the outer Cape and near Nantucket.
Sharks typically don't attack humans, but shark attacks can occur when the animals mistake people for their favorite prey — seals.
As seal populations rebound in Massachusetts, shark populations have also increased, according to the shark conservancy's website.
"The only way to avoid sharks is to stay on shore," the app warns.