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Boston reported this one errored too

Outer Cape towns add a fistful of new safety measures at beaches

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Boston reported this one errored too

Outer Cape towns add a fistful of new safety measures at beaches

The unofficial start of summer is making a bigger splash on Cape Cod this year.There's real anxiety over the growing number of great white sharks prowling the Cape Cod coastline, including at Nauset Beach in Orleans.“I'm watching seals scurrying through the surf line, no predators behind them quite yet,” said Orleans Natural Resources Manager and Harbormaster Nate Sears. “There's no reason not to anticipate that we'll have just as busy a season as we did last year.”“We expect to see the first sharks probably within a couple of weeks and then it really goes off the charts for the months of July through October, November,” he said.Data from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy tracks the peak months for shark sightings over the past two summers: August and October saw the most sightings. They've been spotted from Chatham to Provincetown and beyondThe depth of the growing populations of both sharks and the seals they feed on became clearer for many people last year after a shark bit a swimmer in Truro in August, followed by a deadly encounter between a great white and boogie boarder Arthur Medici in Wellfleet in September.“I think the public's starting to get their head wrapped around the fact that this is a pretty serious situation,” Sears said. “And I would hope to see behavior change this coming season.”Public education about how to best deal with the shark threat has been going on all winter and spring on Cape Cod at community meetings like the one recently at the Snow Library in Orleans.Nate Sears and Orleans Fire chief Anthony Pike led the discussion about beach safety. “I'll be quite frank with you,” Pike said. “When I started this seven years ago, they thought that I was a lunatic and that I was the little boy who cried wolf.”But now, people are listening to Pike and Sears talk about beefed up safety plans for Orleans beaches this summer.Those measures include new shark warning signs, emergency phones that will allow calls to be made without good cell service, advanced first-aid kits with tourniquets and surgical dressings, and emergency medical technicians who will be stationed right on the beaches.The town is also offering “Stop the Bleed” classes to the public so people will know how to help someone suffering from a shark bite.“The reality is with wounds associated with shark bites, the victims have minutes, if not seconds before they need first aid,” Sears said.5 Investigates surveyed 10 Cape communities to see if they're taking the same five steps that Orleans is implementing.Most of the towns on the outer Cape are in line with Orleans, which we assigned a “5” rating for the five measures its taking.Chatham, Truro and Wellfleet also received “5” ratings. Eastham got a “4” because it will not be stationing EMTs on its beaches.Except for Barnstable, which earned a “4” rating, communities farther from where shark sightings have been concentrated are taking fewer precautions.Harwich and Falmouth got ratings of “2”, Sandwich “1” and Bourne “0.”But there are skeptics on Cape Cod who believe officials should take a more aggressive approach.“People come here to use our beautiful beaches, but they're not going to come here with their children or want to vacation here if they think that they're going to be slaughtered by a great white shark,” said Barnstable County Commissioner Ronald Beaty.Beaty thinks more needs to be done to curb the shark threat and it needs to be done quickly.He said everything should be on the table, from using new shark detection technologies to targeting the seal and shark populations.“I'll tell you one thing, I value the human life much more than I do a shark's life," Beaty said.Heather Doyle is with Cape Cod Ocean Community, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness and money for shark detection technology.She says more needs to be done after last year's fatal shark bite in Wellfleet.“It's not one in 80 years, it's three bites in 14 months now,” Doyle said. “That's the real concern. It's, where are we going? So how long does up to your waist work considering where we are going?"Sears, the Orleans harbormaster, said he understands that some Cape residents think more needs to be done to prevent shark attacks, but said this summer's strategy is based on available data and is aimed at saving lives.“There is no silver bullet, so we need to educate,” he said. “This is the message we're delivering. This is a message that will change people's behavior hopefully.” “As we learn more, hopefully we'll find out other ways to manage the beaches so we can continue to recreate like we used to,” Sears said.Dr. Blake Chapman is author of a book titled, “Shark Attacks: Myths, Misunderstandings, and Human Fear."5 Investigates spoke to her from Australia, which has seen many shark attacks over the years.“I think that if you are swimming in a population where there are seals right here and about, then that is absolutely increasing your risk factor for something like this happening,” Chapman said.“Being bitten by a shark, if a person wants to use the water, then this is just part of doing that,” she said. “It's a risk that we take. And occasionally these natural accidents happen and it's very sad and very tragic, but aside from removing our natural endemic animals, then there's not a lot that we can do”Chapman said killing sharks and seals does not work. They simply come back.She believes shark monitoring, and technology like the Shark Shield which repels sharks can help keep people safe.Asked about Cape Cod in the summer 2019, Chapman said: “I think that there's absolutely potential for more bites in the future, especially as summer comes to you guys.”A research study by The Woods Hole Group is evaluating the effectiveness of shark deterrent systems and shark detection devices, but the results are not expected until September.In April, the state gave towns on Cape Cod nearly $400,000 to purchase emergency supplies and equipment for responding to shark attacks on their beaches.

The unofficial start of summer is making a bigger splash on Cape Cod this year.

There's real anxiety over the growing number of great white sharks prowling the Cape Cod coastline, including at Nauset Beach in Orleans.

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“I'm watching seals scurrying through the surf line, no predators behind them quite yet,” said Orleans Natural Resources Manager and Harbormaster Nate Sears. “There's no reason not to anticipate that we'll have just as busy a season as we did last year.”

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Nauset Beach in Orleans

“We expect to see the first sharks probably within a couple of weeks and then it really goes off the charts for the months of July through October, November,” he said.

Data from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy tracks the peak months for shark sightings over the past two summers: August and October saw the most sightings. They've been spotted from Chatham to Provincetown and beyond

The depth of the growing populations of both sharks and the seals they feed on became clearer for many people last year after a shark bit a swimmer in Truro in August, followed by a deadly encounter between a great white and boogie boarder Arthur Medici in Wellfleet in September.

“I think the public's starting to get their head wrapped around the fact that this is a pretty serious situation,” Sears said. “And I would hope to see behavior change this coming season.”

KHTV-NEWS
Orleans Harbormaster Nate Sears

Public education about how to best deal with the shark threat has been going on all winter and spring on Cape Cod at community meetings like the one recently at the Snow Library in Orleans.

Nate Sears and Orleans Fire chief Anthony Pike led the discussion about beach safety.

“I'll be quite frank with you,” Pike said. “When I started this seven years ago, they thought that I was a lunatic and that I was the little boy who cried wolf.”

But now, people are listening to Pike and Sears talk about beefed up safety plans for Orleans beaches this summer.

Those measures include new shark warning signs, emergency phones that will allow calls to be made without good cell service, advanced first-aid kits with tourniquets and surgical dressings, and emergency medical technicians who will be stationed right on the beaches.

KHTV-NEWS

The town is also offering “Stop the Bleed” classes to the public so people will know how to help someone suffering from a shark bite.

“The reality is with wounds associated with shark bites, the victims have minutes, if not seconds before they need first aid,” Sears said.

5 Investigates surveyed 10 Cape communities to see if they're taking the same five steps that Orleans is implementing.

Most of the towns on the outer Cape are in line with Orleans, which we assigned a “5” rating for the five measures its taking.

Chatham, Truro and Wellfleet also received “5” ratings. Eastham got a “4” because it will not be stationing EMTs on its beaches.

Except for Barnstable, which earned a “4” rating, communities farther from where shark sightings have been concentrated are taking fewer precautions.

Harwich and Falmouth got ratings of “2”, Sandwich “1” and Bourne “0.”

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Advanced first-aid kit

But there are skeptics on Cape Cod who believe officials should take a more aggressive approach.

“People come here to use our beautiful beaches, but they're not going to come here with their children or want to vacation here if they think that they're going to be slaughtered by a great white shark,” said Barnstable County Commissioner Ronald Beaty.

Beaty thinks more needs to be done to curb the shark threat and it needs to be done quickly.

He said everything should be on the table, from using new shark detection technologies to targeting the seal and shark populations.

“I'll tell you one thing, I value the human life much more than I do a shark's life," Beaty said.

Heather Doyle is with Cape Cod Ocean Community, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness and money for shark detection technology.

She says more needs to be done after last year's fatal shark bite in Wellfleet.

“It's not one in 80 years, it's three bites in 14 months now,” Doyle said. “That's the real concern. It's, where are we going? So how long does up to your waist work considering where we are going?"

Sears, the Orleans harbormaster, said he understands that some Cape residents think more needs to be done to prevent shark attacks, but said this summer's strategy is based on available data and is aimed at saving lives.

“There is no silver bullet, so we need to educate,” he said. “This is the message we're delivering. This is a message that will change people's behavior hopefully.”

“As we learn more, hopefully we'll find out other ways to manage the beaches so we can continue to recreate like we used to,” Sears said.

[asset removed due to syndication rights]

Dr. Blake Chapman is author of a book titled, “Shark Attacks: Myths, Misunderstandings, and Human Fear."

5 Investigates spoke to her from Australia, which has seen many shark attacks over the years.

“I think that if you are swimming in a population where there are seals right here and about, then that is absolutely increasing your risk factor for something like this happening,” Chapman said.

“Being bitten by a shark, if a person wants to use the water, then this is just part of doing that,” she said. “It's a risk that we take. And occasionally these natural accidents happen and it's very sad and very tragic, but aside from removing our natural endemic animals, then there's not a lot that we can do”

Chapman said killing sharks and seals does not work. They simply come back.

She believes shark monitoring, and technology like the Shark Shield which repels sharks can help keep people safe.

Asked about Cape Cod in the summer 2019, Chapman said: “I think that there's absolutely potential for more bites in the future, especially as summer comes to you guys.”

A research study by The Woods Hole Group is evaluating the effectiveness of shark deterrent systems and shark detection devices, but the results are not expected until September.

In April, the state gave towns on Cape Cod nearly $400,000 to purchase emergency supplies and equipment for responding to shark attacks on their beaches.