Fatal shark attack in Maine sparks concern for those on Cape: ‘Just a matter of time’

The frequency of shark sightings along the Cape and off Plymouth is becoming quite concerning, especially in the light of the recent fatal shark attack in Maine, Barnstable County Commissioner Ron Beaty said.

“It’s just a matter of time before it happens again here,” Beaty said. “We really have to start doing something to prevent it.”

There were multiple shark sightings along the Cape and off Plymouth Wednesday, triggering beaches to shut down to swimming.

Nauset Beach in Orleans was closed to swimming for an hour Wednesday morning after a great white shark was spotted, according to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

Then later in the day, lifeguards at White Horse Beach in Plymouth ordered people to get out of the water after the sighting of a great white shark about 100 yards from the swimming area. A shark was also spotted 50 yards off North Beach Island in Chatham on Wednesday.

The sightings come after Julie Dimperio Holowach, a 63-year-old woman from New York City, was killed by a shark in Maine on Monday — the state’s first confirmed fatal shark attack. She was killed by a great white shark off Harpswell’s Bailey Island.

“That highlights the major problem we have here on the Cape,” Beaty said. “It’s becoming worse each year, and we need to mitigate the threat.

“There are some measures that can be taken to protect the public, with shark netting and sound buoys and warning sirens, but so far that has not been done,” he added, noting another idea of giving birth control to seals, which attract sharks close to shore.

Since 2012, sharks have attacked people three times off of Wellfleet and Truro. Two years ago, 26-year-old Arthur Medici was killed while boogie-boarding at Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet — the first shark attack fatality in 82 years in Massachusetts.

Tom King, a Scituate-based shark expert, recalled kayakers a couple years ago having a close call with a shark.

“I would expect those close calls to keep happening,” King said. “The sharks simply cannot pass up the opportunity to feed on those seals, and they’re everywhere. Both of the species have just multiplied like crazy.”

Peak shark activity based on tagging increases in July compared to June, according to the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. The peak shark activity keeps rising in August, September and October — before decreasing in November and December.

“Every day from here to October, people will be seeing great white sharks in Massachusetts’ waters,” King said.

John Kartsounis, of Wellfleet, said it’s time for more “proactive solutions instead of reactive like Stop The Bleed kits.”

The member of the Wellfleet Concerned Citizens Coalition added, “This is something I’ve been warning about for many, many years.”

  • PLYMOUTH MA. – JULY 29: The No Swimming flag flyes at Plymouth Long Beach, the beach was closed temporarily after where a shark was spotted at White Horse Beach on July 29, 2020 in Plymouth, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/)

  • PLYMOUTH MA. – JULY 29: The scene around Plymouth Long Beach, the beach was closed temporarily after where a shark was spotted at White Horse Beach on July 29, 2020 in Plymouth, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • PLYMOUTH MA. – JULY 29: The scene around Plymouth Long Beach, the beach was closed temporarily after where a shark was spotted at White Horse Beach on July 29, 2020 in Plymouth, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • PLYMOUTH MA. – JULY 29: The scene around White Horse and Pricilla Beach, where a shark was spotted and the beaches closed temporarily on July 29, 2020 in Plymouth, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • PLYMOUTH MA. – JULY 29: The scene around White Horse and Pricilla Beach, where a shark was spotted and the beaches closed temporarily on July 29, 2020 in Plymouth, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • PLYMOUTH MA. – JULY 29: The scene around Plymouth Long Beach, the beach was closed temporarily after where a shark was spotted at White Horse Beach on July 29, 2020 in Plymouth, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • PLYMOUTH MA. – JULY 29: The scene around White Horse and Pricilla Beach, where a shark was spotted and the beaches closed temporarily on July 29, 2020 in Plymouth, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • PLYMOUTH MA. – JULY 29: The scene around Plymouth Long Beach, the beach was closed temporarily after where a shark was spotted at White Horse Beach on July 29, 2020 in Plymouth, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • PLYMOUTH MA. – JULY 29: The water boils with bait fish activity near White Horse and Pricilla Beach, where a shark was spotted and the beaches closed temporarily on July 29, 2020 in Plymouth, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

  • This shark was spotted 50 yards off North Beach Island in Chatham on Wednesday. Photo courtesy Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

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