Cape Cod is one of the historically known areas of Massachusetts that has been infested with sharks. The oldest surfers know about the legends of Cape Cod beaches that often include the encounter of sharks with humans. That is why they stand there scanning the closest shore for seals, who are the primary food for sharks.
The seals have been rebounding to Cape Cod since the 1970s after they almost went to the verge of extinction due to massive hunting. The surfers, too, have started to change their habits, with many of them choosing to surf exclusively in the winter to avoid an encounter with the great white sharks.
Ecologists, on the other hand, credit the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act for the return of the seals and the sharks. Nevertheless, as the seals’ population increases and subsequently sharks come to these shores in search of food, the Outer Cape’s four small towns and the National Park Service’s concerning demands become conservation and human safety.
One of the effective measures that are being taken by various countries is the use of sophisticated and highly advanced satellite and tracking technology. This tool is used to predict whether sharks will infest a particular area of water by gauging environmental conditions like water temperature, tides, and lunar cycles. The tool is known as a heat map and acts as a “weather forecasting system, just for sharks”.
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The governments in New England had almost wiped out the seal population by offering a bounty on seal noses and incorrectly blaming them for lower fish stocks. With the seal, the population of sharks started dwindling, too, with many of them being subjected to a daily mixture of trophy hunting, culling, and industrial fishing. The human-shark interactions also led to the belief that sharks are dangerous to humans and resulted in human-shark conflict management through lethal means.
However, the latest measures that are being taken to manage human-shark conflicts lean on a more compassionate approach. Ultimately, the one solution that is deemed most effective is the modification of human behaviour. It sounds good for both vacationers and cab companies operating in Cape Cod.
Image Source- Elias Levy, Wikimedia Commons, The Great White Shark