Great White Sharks Return to Waters Off Cape Cod

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Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

Great white sharks have returned to the coast of Massachusetts — and experts are thrilled to see them back.

"It's a wonderful experience to have the sharks return," said John King of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

King, along with researchers from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, tagged the first great white of the 2015 season off the coast of Chatham on Monday.

The nearly 13-foot-long female, affectionately named Avery, is something of a local: She was also the first great white spotted in the area in 2014. Sharks frequent Chatham because of its huge seal population.

The skipper said they found her about a quarter-mile off the Chatham shore in just seven and a half feet of water, and he couldn’t be happier.

King isn’t skittish about great whites, but he is concerned about other shark species, like the kinds he says could be biting people near North Carolina.

"The sharks that are biting people in North Carolina are not white sharks — they are bull sharks or black tip sharks, and those sharks don't occur in Cape Cod waters," he said.

Still, King stresses caution and common sense for swimmers.

“Pay attention when you have your kids at the beach," he said. "Pay attention to whether you're swimming with seals. I would avoid swimming at dawn and dusk because that's the time when sharks hunt."

In 2014, Greg Skomal of the Massachucets Division of Marine Fisheries said he tagged 18 great whites. Experts expect to tag more this year, which could be good fun on social media.

A great white shark named Mary Lee who was tagged in September 2012 has been sending tweets to a mock account each time her tag sends out a signal or ping. The Twitter account @maryleeshark has more than 85,000 followers.

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