Welcome to NewEnglandSharks.com
This website is about the shark species found in New England waters.
I am available to do several types of PowerPoint shark presentations to clubs and groups.
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Shark News Last updated: Jan. 1, 2016
White shark info gets lost to shark biologists because of stringent FEDERAL
possesion rules. Here is a discussion on that subject, about a large white off Chatham
MA on December 18th 2010
On July 30, 2012, around 3:30 PM, a white shark bit the feet and leg of a swimmer/body surfer, at
Ballston Beach Truro Mass. The beach is on the ocean side of Cape Cod. (Lat 42 - 00')
Truro is the next town to Provincetown.
Google - "Ballston beach shark attack" for press details. -Tom
Updated - Janury 1, 2016 White shark tagging info.
From 2009 thru 2013, the Massachusetts Div. of Marine Fisheries, has tagged 38 white sharks off
Chatham, Mass., using 28 acoustic tags - 20 satelite tags and 5 spot tags. (some sharks have more
than one type of tag attached.)
Tagging white sharks is expensive, and the State is basically out of money for white shark and
sandtiger shark research or more would have been tagged.
For white sharks, the tags are about $4,500, plus you need to hire a boat, and a spotter plane.
Chris Fischer on the "Ocearch" platform boat, came to Chatham Mass., the end of last summer and
tagged 2 white sharks in mid-September 2012, using both spot tags, and acoustic tags.
some of the new acousic shark tags, could give reliable results for for up to ten years.
The two white sharks that were tagged by Chris Fischer off Chatham Mass. in 2012 were named
Genie (after Dr. Eugenie Clark) and Mary Lee (after Chris Fischer's mother)
Fischer tagged 2 more white sharks off Chatham in 2013.
Fischer uses a spot tag. The spot tag, which is bolted to the dorsal fin, after the shark is removed
from the water on a platform, gives the Lat/Lon of the shark when its dorsal fin breaks the surface of
the water. The longer the dorsal is up, the more accurate the positioning. So you get immediate
knowledge of where and when the shark is swimming on the surface with this type of tag. You don't
have to wait months to find out where the shark was. (Unless the shark stays down below the
surface, which some sharks do for months at a time.)
The satelite tags get detailed data on salinity, depth, water temp etc.- but you have to wait months
for the programmed tags to release, and the information sent by satelite.
Acoustic tags were also added to these two white sharks, Genie and Mary Lee, and will send a
constant unique signal that can be picked up by hydrophones strategicaly placed in the ocean along
the coast, if the shark passes close enough to the receivers.- roughly within 1,000 feet. Or as
biologists like to say, 300 meters. About 25 of these hydrophone receivers will be placed by the State
from Nantucket to Provincetown on the east side of Cape Cod each year, and removed for the
winter. Hydrophones are up and down the coast and they can pick up shark tag signals from other
unknown taggers. If they want to cooperate they can find out whose tag it is by contacting Vemco,
who makes the acoustic tags, and giving Vemco the signal number. The manufacturer can then put
them in contact with the unknown tagger, and information on the time and location of the ping can be
The newer tagging method of white sharks using acoustic electronic tags that last for years has
proven to be effective and changed attitudes about the migration patterns.
For instance, the earlier theories a few years ago was the white sharks were here in Mass. for the
summer /fall and then went to Florida in the winter.
Recent info show basically some of that is true, but the white sharks seem be individualistic and go
anywhere they want.
Some, coming back from Florida to colder waters in the 40s, up here in mid -winter and then going
Also tags show most do not hang around the seal colony at Chatham Mass. but use it as a food stop
while moving up and down the coast.
An exception might be "Julia" who ws tagged in Aug. 2011 and in the last 3 years is the first tagged
white shark to be detected by the hydrophones off Chatham, and has history of hanging around the
Chatham area during the summer and fall. The others whites are in and out of the area..
In the past I talked to some of the people I knew personally who were directly involved in the white
shark tagging and study. I was stounded at the number of whites they encountered in 2015 Here is
the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy report on 2015 filming and tagging etc.
Let the first paragraph sink in. That is how many white sharks they are encountering.
Remember they are just doing this in the Chatham, Cape Cod area of Mass. and north of that in
Mass. Bay whites are also present with no one doing any research on them.
The way they tell if a shark is new, is they film it, and compare it to previous films for IDs.
A lot of sharks go untagged because of money issues.
Below is part of the recent Atlantic. White Shark Conservancy report for 2015
"We funded the second year of the MA Division of Marine Fisheries five year white shark
population study, led by Dr. Greg Skomal - 120 individual white sharks were identified (80 new, 40
previously seen). 24 white sharks were also tagged as part of the movement study.
We expanded the receiver array to collect data on the fine-scale movements of white sharks off the
coast of Provincetown, Wellfleet, Plymouth, Duxbury and Scituate."
Tom here -Can you imagine in any area of the world , especially a small area off Chatham that they
are encountering 120 different white sharks in one season. Amazing. - Tom
White sharks get very close to shore at Cape Cod ,as can be seen in this
tagging photo. The tagging boat has followed some of them for miles in
very shallow water to get the right shot at placing the transmitting tags.
For recent info on white sharks visit the White shark info page.