In recent years, great white shark sightings in the summer have become almost routine off Cape Cod.
Already this year, more than 150 of the sharks have been spotted off of Massachusetts. Most of the sightings are on the outer Cape, from Chatham to Provincetown. But there have also been many sightings in Cape Cod Bay, where research scientists have been focusing much of their efforts this year.
According to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy's Sharktivity app, 161 sharks have been spotted off Massachusetts since June 1. In the past week alone, nearly 20 have been seen off the Cape. Some of the sightings closest to shore have resulted in beach closures.
The most recent sightings come just as the Discovery network kicks off its annual "Shark Week" programming. On Monday night, the network turned its focus to Cape Cod's sharks, including an appearance by Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Divisiion of Marine Fisheries.
Researchers on Cape Cod launched a new study last month focused on the hunting and feeding habits of the region's great white sharks following last year's two attacks on humans, including the state's first fatal one in more than 80 years. They hope the work contributes critical information to the ongoing debate over how to keep Cape beachgoers safe.
One Massachusetts citizens group is calling for eliminating federal protections on seals, which have been blamed for drawing an increased number of great white sharks to the region in recent years.
Barnstable County Commissioner Ron Beaty told the Boston Herald that the panel will consider a proposal this week to name August "Cape Cod Seal and Shark Public Awareness Month."
"You're getting some very assertive great white sharks out there," he said. "We need to be vigilant."