August 23, 2010
George E. Price, Jr., Superintendent, 508-771-2144
National Park Service rangers were notified that a visitor witnessed and photographed a great white shark attacking a seal off of a Cape Cod National Seashore beach this morning between High Head, Truro, and Race Point Beach, Provincetown. If verified, this will be the first great white shark sighting north of the Chatham/Orleans beaches, close to the protected beaches of the seashore. Seashore rangers have interviewed the witness and are reviewing a series of photographs. Dr. Greg Skomal, Massachusetts Marine Fisheries and regional great white shark expert, was already on the water off Chatham spotting for sharks and was en route to investigate the incident. The approximate location of this reported sighting is 2-3 miles from two lifeguarded beaches, Race Point Beach and Head of the Meadow Beach and along the off-road vehicle corridor.
The area off of High Head is the location of a sand bar, which attracts hundreds of gray seals at low tide.Although seals are a primary food source for geat whites, the Chatham area to the south has been the primary feeding grounds where gray seals can be found in the thousands. The Chatham/Orleans beaches are within the boundary of the National Seashore, but are owned and managed by the towns.Seashore staff is on extra alert and beaches will be closed to swimming if sharks are sighted near a protected beach.
Great white sharks have been reported recently off beaches from Westport to Orleans. great white sharks this season.
For more information about the seashore's programs, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/caco.