Study Reveals Sharks Off Cape Cod Spend Almost Half Their Time In Shallow Water

WBZ-TV's Bill Shields reports.

Video Transcript

LISA HUGHES: All new tonight, new research shows that great white sharks off Cape Cod spend almost half their time in shallow water near the beach. Now, the research is fascinating for people who study shark behavior.

DAVID WADE: Yeah, fascinating for them, but it's not great news for swimmers on the Cape. Here's WBZ's Bill Shields.

BILL SHIELDS: It's no longer a surprise to anyone that the great white sharks return to the Outer Cape every summer like clockwork. And with all the research-- tagging and monitoring-- scientists have learned a lot about the white sharks. Now, new data from a consortium of scientists indicates the sharks come very close to the beach and stay there.

GREG SKOMAL: And what this study does, is it really gives us a number. And I think we're all surprised by the amount of time. 40% of the time, these sharks are in less than 15 feet of water. And I think, from a public safety perspective, that's very telling.

BILL SHIELDS: The sharks are hunting seals in the shallows, but that's also where people are.

MEGAN WINTON: One of the most powerful things people can do is to modify their behavior based on the knowledge that these sharks are here.

BILL SHIELDS: The seals aren't going anywhere, so neither are the sharks. So it's up to us to change our behavior.

GREG SKOMAL: Now, people have to make choices accordingly.

MEGAN WINTON: It really is a conservation success story. But it's a really tough place for our community to be in.

BILL SHIELDS: Sharks use stealth to hunt, but another tidbit from this study may be that one of their favorite times is at night during a new moon.

I'm Bill Shields, WBZ News.