Life has two major stages: before and after Jaws.
Ever since seeing Chrissie Watkins getting dragged under the water to a hauntingly silent demise, the thought of skinny dipping makes my palms sweat.
If anything is going to keep me out of the sea, it’s a great white shark. Well, it looks like Bruce’s cohorts are swarming the coasts to keep the water to themselves – then again, they’ve roamed oceans for around 400 million years, so it was theirs to begin with.
There’s been panic on the beaches of the US’ east coast after a rise in sightings of the predators – sparking at least 59 beach closures between July and the first week of August in Cape Cod and Islands, southeastern Massachusetts. According to The Boston Globe, there were 42 beach closures occurring in the first week of August alone.
SHARK TRACKED: Drone footage shot off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts, shows a boat tracking an adult great white shark swimming near the surface; shark sightings near shore have led to several Cape Cod beach closures this summer. https://t.co/EhZj6wiMuD pic.twitter.com/fjAhpFRbxo
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) August 13, 2019
As his home is turning into Amity Island, resident AJ Salerno, who banned his son from surfing, said: ‘We’ve been bullied out of the water by the sharks.’
Authorities have been putting up warning signs on beaches, reading: ‘People have been seriously injured and killed by white sharks along this coastline.’
— CNN International (@cnni) August 18, 2019
Last year, 26-year-old Arthur Medici died after being bit by a shark while boogie-boarding – the first shark fatality in Massachusetts since 1936.
As reported by The Independent, Joe Booth, a local fisherman and surfer, saw the incident unfold:
I was that guy on the beach screaming, ‘Shark, shark!’ It was like right out of that movie Jaws. This has turned into Amity Island real quick out here.
The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC), a non-profit organisation that raises awareness of great white sharks and counts the existing population in Cape Cod, recently posted a video online showing water turning red after a shark attacked a seal.
Video by Megan Haggett of a predation off Nauset Beach yesterday. A number of predations have been witnessed recently off Callanan’s Pass (north of the public beach). pic.twitter.com/fmp5JyJxFN
— Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (@A_WhiteShark) August 15, 2019
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have listed great white sharks as a ‘vulnerable’ species as their numbers across the globe declined. They are often exploited for our gain, killed by the millions each year – huge demand for their fins, which are made into soup, has led to illegal over-fishing.
However, according to the AWSC, large numbers have been flocking to Cape Cod, and it’s the only place in the northwest Atlantic the predators aggregate.
Researchers have cited the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act – which banned catching marine mammals including seals, whales and dolphins – as a potential cause of the surge in great whites. Seals are to sharks what kebabs are to me – they are peak prey. With populations thriving, their abundance is drawing in great whites hankering for a seal or two.
Thanks to sensationalised storytelling, whether it be Jaws, Deep Blue Sea or even Sharknado, sharks have a misrepresented ‘bad’ reputation. Seen as mindless killers with an appetite for humans, the reality is in fact much, much different.
The WWF’s website explains:
Humans are not food for sharks. The sharks involved in incidents with humans are often hunting for similar-sized prey to humans, such as seals or dolphins… you are more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a shark.
Ocean Ramsey, a marine biologist, made headlines in January this year after swimming with the largest great white shark on record.
Have a look at the report from Today below:
There have been 314 confirmed unprovoked great white attacks around the world, with 80 of those being fatal – but the chances are, if you’re on the other side of a great white, it’s because you look like a tasty seal… no offence.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.