Cape Cod’s great white shark numbers increase with researchers tagging more of the predators than ever

Scientists say they detected 118 of giant fish in 2020, up from 11 in 2013

Related video: Sharks use Earth’s magnetic fields like a GPS

The population of Atlantic great white sharks around Massachusetts’ Cape Cod peninsula has increased significantly, researchers say.

A total of 118 individual great white sharks were detected in 2020 off the coast by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, up from only 11 in 2013.

And the total number of recorded shark detections in the same period has jumped from 10,803 to 134,631.

Scientists say that back in 2010 only three acoustic receivers were used, compared to 65 last year.

“It’s important to remember that the receivers can only detect sharks tagged with acoustic transmitters, and there are still a lot of white sharks out there that haven’t been tagged,” Megan Winton, research scientist with the AWSC, told the Boston Herald.

“As scientists, we use the data collected from tagged sharks to give us an idea of what the population is doing as a whole.

“People should think of the data provided by the logbook the same way – as a proxy for shark activity off the coast.”

A total of 231 individual great white sharks have been tagged with transmitters since 2010.

But Ms Winton said that researchers have documented more than 500 of the sharks in the area. Using underwater video footage.

The average length of the tagged sharks is 11.6ft long and shark activity is greatest where seal density is at its highest.

“When you look at the detection data, there are two immediately clear takeaways: white shark activity is highest along Cape Cod, and the Outer Cape in particular, where seal densities are highest, and white sharks have been detected all along the coast of Massachusetts,” Ms Winton said.

“They don’t occur exclusively off of Cape Cod.”

Over the last four years the most shark detections have been in the month of August and the shark season extends until October,

In 2020 a total of 10 people around the world were killed by sharks, with just three in the United States,  according to the International Shark Attack File.

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