As the unofficial start to the summer arrives, experts are warning of an increase in shark activity along the popular Memorial Day weekend spot in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 

Researchers with the New England Aquarium on Thursday issued an advisory for people returning to the pristine waters on Cape Cod.

John Chisholm, an adjunct scientist at the Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, said that while researchers have not spotted a white shark this season, they are certain of their presence.

“Although we haven’t seen a white shark just yet this season, we know they’re here,” Chisholm said. “With beach weather in the forecast and Memorial Day Weekend approaching, this is a good reminder for people to review shark safety guidelines and be shark smart.”


Cape Cod shark

As summer gets underway, the New England Aquarium urged the public to be aware of their surroundings and report shark sightings. (CAPT. DAMON BURDEN/PYTHIAS SPORTFISHING)

The experts said that several marine mammals off the Massachusetts coast have recently been found suffering from shark bites – a timely warning for those willing to brave the chilly waters in Massachusetts. 

Chisholm recently captured images of a seal with fresh bite marks in Plymouth.

The aquarium also received a report of a minke whale with a white shark bite off Chatham, Massachusetts on May 21 from a fishing charter company. 

Seal with shark bite

John Chisholm, an adjunct scientist in the Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, also captured images of a seal with fresh bite marks in Plymouth, Massachusetts. (CAPT. DAMON BURDEN/PYTHIAS SPORTFISHING)

Minke whale with shark bite

The New England Aquarium received a report of a minke whale with a white shark bite off Chatham, MA, from a fishing charter company. (CAPT. DAMON BURDEN/PYTHIAS SPORTFISHING)

The bites are a timely warning that sharks are now present along Cape Cod’s white sand beaches.


As temperatures rise and people head to the beaches, Chisholm and the aquarium highlighted the importance of “being aware of sharks’ presence in shallow waters, avoiding areas where seals are present or schools of fish are visible, and staying close to shore where emergency responders can reach you if needed.”

Cape Cod Sharks

Shark warning and beach advisory in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The New England Aquarium said that there are 15 shark species that live in the waters of New England’s coastline. (John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

At different points in the year, more than 15 shark species inhabit the waters off New England, the aquarium said. 


The aquarium noted that people can report shark sightings and stay informed about activity through the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Sharktivity app.

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