The weather may have begun to cool down in Massachusetts, but that doesn’t mean the great white sharks have left the coast for warmer waters.
State shark expert Greg Skomal said he tagged the 15th great white shark of the season off the coast of Chatham Monday. The shark was about 17 feet long, making it one of the biggest he has tagged all season.
Skomal, who works for the state Division of Marine Fisheries , said he and his team have been tagging sharks since July and will probably continue the effort until the end of October.
“It’s not weird to see sharks this time of year,” Skomal said. A few sharks will probably remain in the area until about December to feed on seals before migrating south for the winter, he said.
“Usually what keeps us from going out and tagging is bad weather,” Skomal said. “So it’s not that the sharks aren’t there, we just can’t go out on the water to tag them.”
Skomal said he tagged four sharks within the span of about a week at the end of September. Over the summer, his team spotted sharks ranging in size from about 8 feet to 18 feet, around the length of a Chevy Suburban.
Skomal said there were a range of factors this year that led to the increase in tagging, including fund-raising by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy , study design, and the weather.
He and his team have been focusing this season on tagging sharks to get an estimate of the predator's population size in the area.
“This year the sharks are still around, so we will continue to tag them as long as we can,” Skomal said. “Once we get into November, the weather is consistently not conducive to what we do.”Trisha Thadani can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @TrishaThadani.