GRAPHIC: Great white seen devouring seal off Cape Cod as ‘shark season’ begins
The great white shark was estimated to be over 12 feet in length.
(WFSB) According to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, great white sharks have returned to Cape Cod.
Eyewitnesses on the Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch spotted a great white shark munching on a juvenile gray seal near Stellwagen Bank Sunday morning.
It took around 7 minutes for the shark to consume the seal, and the predator was estimated to be over 12 feet long, according to employees of the whale watch vessel.
Officials confirmed it was the first eyewitness confirmation of a white shark predation this season.
“While we have a healthy population of great whites and seals on Cape Cod, predation events like this are not often sighted. This is the first time our crew has seen a predation in all of our collective years on the water!”, Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch added in Facebook post Sunday.
White sharks were designated as a protected species in most federal waters in 1997 and in Massachusetts state waters in 2005. Beforehand, white sharks were hunted and considered a trophy hunt for recreational fisheries. In the past decade, white shark sightings and catch records in the broader Northwest Atlantic have increased.
The increased presence of white sharks close to shore off of Cape Cod has been tied to increases in seal populations.
The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy identified over 55 new sharks near Cape Cod in 2022.
Since the AWSC began monitoring white sharks in 2014, the group has identified more than 600 off Cape Cod.
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