Frozen Shark Found on Cape Cod Beach Raises Questions

How cold was it last weekend? This cold...

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How cold was it last weekend? So cold the sharks froze.

OK, so it's not quite that simple. But the images of a frozen shark that washed up on... wait for it... Cold Storage Beach in Dennis on Saturday as temperatures dipped below zero were the perfect embodiment of how cold most of New England was feeling at the time.

Courtesy: @capeimagesbyamie

Photographer Amie Medeiros (@capeimagesbyamie on Instagram) captured the images of the sharksicle around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. The shark appeared to have wounds near its fin, and it isn't actually believed to have died as a result of the cold.

Many people assumed the weather had done the shark in, but experts say it likely died at sea, washed up on shore, and then froze because of the frigid weather that blasted Massachusetts on Friday and Saturday.

"We don't know what killed it," said shark biologist John Chisholm. "It's pretty decomposed."

Chisholm, a scientist with the New England Aquarium, says porbeagle sharks are common year-round off the Massachusetts coast and they like the cold water.

About six have washed up on shore this season, but this one was so close to the parking lot at Cold Storage Beach that it got lots of attention on social media because so many people saw it and posted photos.

"It's been dead for a while, so it definitely died before the cold snap," said Chisholm.

Over the course of the weekend, Chisholm says someone dismembered the shark.

Its fins and tail had been cut off, and most of its teeth were taken, as well. He'd been hoping to study it for research.

"We like to get a complete sample when we can, but the people had already beat us to it," he said.

It'll be up to the state's Environmental Police to launch an investigation into who may have cut it up.

"I'm sad sharks have that kind of quality that people want to take things from them," said Kathy Miller, a volunteer with the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance.

It is illegal to remove a shark's fins or tail.

It's punishable by up to 60 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000 if anyone is caught.

There is no active investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Police at this point until it is reported to the bureau.

Temperatures in Dennis got as low as 8 below zero early Saturday morning, with the wind chill reaching negative 32, according to the National Weather Service. The cold snap broke records across the region.

The @MA_Sharks Twitter account — run by shark biologist John Chisolm — identified the shark as a porbeagle. He said it's likely the same one that washed up a week earlier in the same general area.

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