The public is banned from swimming in parts of a Nantucket wildlife sanctuary after multiple attacks, some of them bloody. shark sightings.
Beachgoers are currently unable to swim around Great Point, which is on the northernmost tip of Nantucket Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refugeaccording to The Trustees of Reservations, which manages the property.
Because of Great Point’s remote location, the injuries sustained there would be particularly difficult to treat.
“Following multiple shark sightings and predators in the area, we have decided to implement a swim closure around Great Point until further notice. This is not a decision we made lightly. The safety of visitors is important to us, especially given the remote location of this beach should a serious incident occur. We will continue to monitor shark activity in cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service,” a spokesman for the Trustee said in a statement to Boston.com. “Other areas of the refuge remain open for recreational use. We encourage all visitors to exercise caution in the water.”
Most recent shark activity has occurred outside of the shelters Five Mile Marker. Swimming is now prohibited here, but other bodies of water in the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge remain accessible.
In the past, trustees’ policy has been to temporarily close beaches to swimming after shark sightings and warn beachgoers when it is safe to re-enter the water. But the spate of recent sightings and robberies has prompted officials to take “more proactive measures,” the organization said.
The Sharktivity app currently lists two recent confirmed great white shark sightings near Great Point. One was taken on the morning of July 1st and the other around 5pm on July 8th. The latter contains a reference to seal robbery.
The app was developed by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy in collaboration with government officials. Users can upload reports of shark sightings, which will then be reviewed by the New England Aquarium.
Spread over 1,117 acres, the Coskata-Coatue refuge is both a popular summer destination and a secluded barrier beach. According to the trustees, Great Point itself is nearly six miles of rugged terrain from the Wauwinet Gatehouse and about 13 miles from Nantucket Cottage Hospital.
Great white shark numbers have increased around Cape Cod and the islands elevated in recent years, driven by a boom in gray seal population numbers.
To avoid dangerous shark encounters, the trustees gave the public the following tips:
- Do not swim near seals.
- Swim close to shore where your feet can touch the bottom.
- Swim, paddle, kayak and surf in groups.
- Do not swim alone in the sea at dawn or dusk.
- Avoid isolation.
- Avoid splashes and don’t wear shiny jewelry.
- Keep your distance (at least 150 feet) from seals whether resting on land or in the water. It’s against the law to disturb them.
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