A team of researchers spotted a great white shark Saturday about a quarter-mile off Nauset Beach in Orleans, the first sighting off the east coast of Cape Cod this year.
“She was incredible, very, very slowly moving across the water,” said Cynthia Wigren, president of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy , who was on a boat that followed the shark for about an hour. “It was easy to stay with her.”
A spotter pilot, Wayne Davis , first saw the 14-foot-long female shark from his plane and called to the four-person boat, Wigren said. A scientist on the boat then got footage of the shark’s identifying markings.
“Sharks have a unique pattern along their lateral line, where the white of their body turns into a gray,” Wigren said.
Researchers with the conservancy have just started a three- to five-year study, in partnership with the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries, to determine the size of the local great white shark population, and to see how many return from year to year.
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