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Great White Shark Spotted Off Cape Cod

Coast Guard, Biologist Monitoring Activities

POSTED: 6:32 am EDT September 24, 2004

BOSTON -- A great white shark was spotted off the coast of Massachusetts this week and was tagged by Woods Hole marine biologists who want to know more about its activities.

"It's pretty unusual for this time of year, not a lot to eat around so this is rare for such a large fish to be up here in such a small body of water," said Corey Robinson of the U.S. Coast Guard.

NewsCenter 5's Gail Huff reported that while swimmers wouldn't ever want to meet one, Cape biologists were thrilled at the visit from the shark, which was spotted off Naushon Island. They tagged it, using a 6-foot spear to attach the tag to the shark's dorsal fin, and will be able to gather information about its whereabouts and lifestyle over a 6-month period.

"This species actually is a dangerous species of shark. It's one of the top five most dangerous sharks in the world," Woods Hole marine biologist Greg Skomal said. Skomal estimated the shark weighed about 2,000 pounds.

Pictures of the 17-foot shark were taken and the Coast Guard is monitoring the shark's whereabouts, but has made no attempt to chase it off shore or to interfere with its life.

"We saw him breach. He kind of came up out the water then dove back in. It's hard to tell the size because the water's so murky down there. We saw a tail. Pretty good size, judging by the tail. They said he's been in there for three days now, and he's just kind of doing his thing, so he can come and go as he pleases," said Justin Yow of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The tag attached to the shark will send a signal picked up by satelitte providing data about its whereabouts over the next 6 months. The biologists said they are hoping visitors stay away from the area to avoid disturbing the animal. They said although the great white sharks are common in the deeper water south of Martha's Vineyard, they're rarely seen so close to shore. The sharks feed on seals, however, and the scientists speculate that a growing seal population has drawn the sharks closer to Cape Cod.

The last fatal shark attack in Massachusetts was in 1936 when a great white attacked a child swimming in Buzzard's Bay near Mattapoisett, Mass.

The United States and several other countries recently joined together to support trade restrictions aimed at protecting great whites, which are listed as an endangered species. The sharks can grow to up 24-feet in length and are slow to breed. Hunters have targeted them in the past and fishermen sometimes catch them in nets. In Asia, where shark fin soup is popular, millions of the sharks are killed each year for their meat.

The sharks were added to a list of 50 proposals submitted to the United Nations' Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES. The 166 nations that are part of the convention will meeting in Thailand in October to review the worldwide list of endangered species. The list aims to protect more than 5,000 species of animals and more than 28,000 species of plants.

Copyright 2004 by TheBostonChannel.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Great white shark tagged off Elizabeth Islands

The Associated Press

FALMOUTH, Mass.- Marine researchers tagged a 15-foot great white shark off Cape Cod this week, the first time a great white has been outfitted with a satellite tracking device in the Atlantic.

The shark, first spotted Tuesday near the Elizabeth Islands, may have had difficulty navigating its way back to the open ocean, said Gregory Skomal, a shark specialist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

Skomal used a six-foot spear to attach the tag to the shark's dorsal fin Thursday near Hadley Harbor, off Naushon Island.

"It's a spectacular animal," Skomal told The Cape Cod Times. "The most impressive thing is the girth. It probably weighs 2,000 pounds."

The shark has apparently spent several days in the somewhat enclosed area framed by Woods Hole, Naushon Island, and two smaller islands, Uncatena and Nonamesset.

Officials hoped the shark would be able to leave the area on its own.

"If it sticks around, we may try to figure a way to drive the animal out of the area," Skomal said. "Hopefully it won't come to that."

He expressed concern that news of the shark would inspire boaters to flood the area, potentially endangering the animal.

"We don't need two dozen boats down there," he said. "The greatest danger is too much attention."

Great whites are common in the deeper waters south of Martha's Vineyard, but they rarely venture so close to the mainland. In recent years, a rebounding seal population has led to an increase in sightings near Cape Cod, experts say.

A great white was responsible for the last fatal shark attack in Massachusetts, in 1936, when a child was killed while swimming in Buzzards Bay near Mattapoisett.

Great white shark tagged off Woods Hole

ERIC WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

WOODS HOLE - In an event likely to make history among marine researchers, a 15-foot great white shark was identified and tagged with a tracking device in shallow waters off the northern Elizabeth Islands yesterday.

Image: http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/images/shark24.jpg

Above: The fin of a great white shark breaks the surface yesterday during an operation in which experts successfully tagged the animal with a satellite-tracking device.

Today the shark was in Salt Pond on Nashon Island, off Woods Hole, and apparently having trouble finding its way out, according to Dan McKiernan, assistant director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries early Friday afternoon.

The shark's predicament was analyzed this morning by state fisheries officials and a visiting Austrailian shark expert, among others on their way to the pond, McKiernan said.

They will describe what they saw at a 2 p.m. press conference in Woods Hole.

The shark has been in the area since at least Tuesday and may be having difficulty navigating back to open ocean, said Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries shark specialist Gregory Skomal.

Skomal tagged the shark at approximately 11 a.m. in the vicinity of Hadley Harbor, near Naushon Island. He used a six-foot-long spear to attach the device to the shark's dorsal fin.

Skomal said it was the first time a great white shark had been tagged with a satellite device in the Atlantic Ocean.

"It's a spectacular animal," said Skomal. "The most impressive thing is the girth. It probably weighs 2,000 pounds." Skomal said the shark appeared to be healthy, and that he was uncertain of the sex of the animal.

The shark has apparently spent several days in the somewhat enclosed area framed by Woods Hole, Naushon Island, and two smaller islands, Uncatena Island and Nonamesset Island.

Skomal said officials intend to monitor the shark's activities over the next few days, hoping that it will be able to leave the area on its own. "If it sticks around, we may try to figure a way to drive the animal out of the area," he said. "Hopefully it won't come to that."

Skomal said he had been besieged by media calls from around the Northeast, and expressed concern that news of the shark would inspire boaters to flood the area, potentially endangering the shark. "We don't need two dozen boats down there," he said. "The greatest danger is too much attention."

Sidling up to the predator was a thrill, said Skomal, who tagged the 15-foot shark from a 21-foot boat.

"When you're dealing with an animal of that size, you've got to be careful, period," said Skomal. "It's not likely to do any harm, but if something triggered it, watch out."

Skomal, the state's shark expert, sounded thrilled and tired last night.

"I'm the first person to ever tag a white in the Atlantic," he said. "I'm not bragging, I'm just exhilarated. It's a rare opportunity."

According to the Web site greatwhite.org, the great white shark is an apex predator, meaning that it is at the top of the food chain, with no natural predators. Its prey includes fish, squid, dolphins, whales, seals and sea lions. It is a federally protected species of fish.

Roughly a dozen to 15 great white sharks annually migrate up and down the East Coast as water temperatures rise and fall because "they like 50-degree water," McKiernan said.

Published: September 24, 2004

Great white shark patrols Cape Cod

MSNBC - 30 minutes ago

Image: http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Video/040926/n_brewer_shark_040926.275w.jpg

FALMOUTH, Mass. - Researchers put a satellite tracking device on a 15-foot shark that appeared to be lost in shallow water off Cape Cod, the first time a great white has been tagged that way in the Atlantic.

The device, attached Thursday using a 6-foot spear, will let scientists monitor the animal, which has apparently spent days in a somewhat enclosed area in the Elizabeth Islands.

The shark was first spotted Tuesday, and officials hope it can return to open water on its own. Otherwise, researchers may try to drive it there, said Gregory Skomal, a shark specialist with the state's marine fisheries division.

"Hopefully it won't come to that" Skomal told The Cape Cod Times for Friday's editions.

Great whites are common in deep waters south of Martha's Vineyard, but rarely venture so close to the mainland, though sightings have increased as the seal population has rebounded in recent years.

Some pay for glimpse of shark

Boat excursions seek closer look

By Jack Encarnacao and Connie Paige, Globe Correspondents

September 26, 2004

WOODS HOLE -- As spectators traveled to Woods Hole yesterday for a glimpse of the great white shark that entered the waters off Naushon Island last week, one boat captain was capitalizing on the predator's appearance.

Matt Lundberg, a captain with the Woods Hole-based R&R Marines charter fishing company, was ferrying groups of six passengers in his 22-foot Boston Whaler yesterday to the bay where the shark cruised. The cost to each group for the trip: $100 an hour.

"I've been doing it all day; I'm hungry," Lundberg, 20, said after returning to Woods Hole yesterday afternoon following another run to the island. "I'll be going until I can't see the rocks."

Lundberg, who said he'd taken about 100 people to glimpse the shark yesterday, said the idea to offer the excursions came to him as frantic television reporters tried to shoot footage of the shark from the Woods Hole drawbridge, a half mile from the bay.

"I figured I'd toss the line out and see if anyone bit," Lundberg said. "And now I got a line going out of Woods Hole."

Lundberg, however, was not allowed to take passengers closer than several hundred yards from the 14-foot, 7,000-pound shark. Environmental police have sealed off the embayment, said Greg Skomal, a shark specialist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, who spent yesterday monitoring the shark's activity with other environmental officials.

"It doesn't make for good photography," Skomal said, adding that it was hard to spot the shark from more than 100 yards away.

But Sheila O'Shaughnessy said she was more than satisfied with the glimpse she caught of the shark from Lundberg's boat.

"It was so worth it," O'Shaughnessy, of Sandwich, said.

And for some, danger was the motivation. "I just want to tell my students that I dared to do this," said Judi Taylor, a guidance counselor from Marblehead.

Skomal said the shark has remained docile since it was first spotted Tuesday by a local skipper. Skomal said the shark is probably disoriented, explaining how it ended up in the shallow waters near Woods Hole, and is likely to venture into deeper waters once currents flow in that direction.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Jack Encarnacao can be reached at jencarnacao@globe.com.

Sunday, September 26, 2004 11:21 AM

Officials worrying about crowds trying to see shark

Falmouth, MASS - AP

Marine scientists are starting to worry about gawkers trying to catch a climpse of a visiting great white shark off Cape Cod.

Frank Almeida, deputy director of the Northeast Science Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's office in Wood's Hole, says officials are going to have a stronger presence near the shark.

He said officials are worried that people who are coming to see the 1700 pound female shark are putting themselves at risk.

The shark was spotted Tuesday, and was tagged with a data-collection device that will log where the shark travels. It's been circling in an estuary off Naushon Island

But the shark doesn't appear to be in a big hurry to leave, and some residents have been heading to the area to try to spot the creatur

Shark's allure proves irresistible

State environmental officials work to keep 1,700-pound great white safe from curious boaters and spectators.

Image: http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/images/greatwhite26.jpg

Above: A 14-foot female great white shark was still swimming around a lagoon off Naushon Island yesterday. State environmental officials may try again to shepherd her to the open Atlantic. (MASS. DIVISION OF MARINE FISHERIES)

Image: http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/images/greatwhite26b.jpg

Above: A 1,700-pound great white shark has drawn many curious onlookers since her appearance off Naushon Island last week. Yesterday, spectators watched her swim around a lagoon that is 20-feet deep at its lowest point. (Staff photo by STEVE HEASLIP)

Log:

Tuesday: First known sighting of shark off the Elizabeth Islands.

Thursday: State official becomes first to tag a great white in the Atlantic.

Also Thursday: An emergency regulation enacted forbidding the attempted taking of a great white shark in Massachusetts waters.

By ERIC GERSHON

STAFF WRITER

NAUSHON ISLAND - The shark now living in West Gutter, a salty lagoon near this private island, is without doubt a big fish in a small pond.

And the pond, by the way, was a popular swimming hole before the 14-foot, 1,700-pound lady great white arrived last week.

"No Swimming," it says above the unmistakable outline of a predaceous-looking fish. "Risk!"

The shark has quickly become an irresistible curiosity for the privileged few with access to the private island and for the greater number of people with boats.

By 10 a.m. yesterday, more than two dozen people lined First Bridge and faced the lagoon. Behind them, a half-dozen boats floated above a sweeping tide that flowed beneath their hulls. "It's probably going to be a zoo later," said Ralph McCracken as he and a friend departed the site in a rubber inflatable that was much smaller than the shark they'd just seen.

Throughout the morning the shark, as yet nameless, put on a show, exposing its trademark dorsal fin and long lash of a tail every few minutes.

It thrashed against the base of the pedestrian bridge once, but mostly it swam circular laps of the lagoon.

"It's like Disneyland," said Greg Joyce, 31. Although he may have mixed up his theme parks. The mechanical great white used in the "Jaws" movies is actually an amusement park thrill in the Universal Studios parks.

Gregory Skomal, a shark expert with the state Division of Marine Fisheries, identified the fish as a great white shark, and later tagged it with a data-gathering device. It was the first time an Atlantic great white shark had been tagged with such a gadget.

Skomal and a crew of other scientists and experts arrived at the lagoon mid-morning yesterday to continue observing the shark.

They hope it will escape to open ocean on its own, but may try to herd it out if necessary. An early attempt to drive the animal back to ocean water

"I bet you he's stuck," said Bob Robbins of Falmouth, a spectator who said he often swam in the lagoon as a child. "The island kids still do," he said.

Scientists speculate the shark chased prey into the lagoon - which is 20 feet deep at its deepest point - on a high tide and will probably need another unusually high tide to get out.

Although the shark - which has apparently not been able to find its way out to Martha's Vineyard Sound, or has not wanted to - may find enough to eat inside the lagoon, local waters will eventually become too cold for comfort.

The travels of great white sharks are a relative mystery, but experts say it is not uncommon for the sharks to follow their prey to North Atlantic waters in August and September, when the water temperatures are to their liking. Then it is likely they travel south to more temperate waters. The sharks are found year-round in waters off Australia and South Africa.

It is hoped that the device Skomal tagged this shark with will reveal more about the behavior of great white sharks in the Atlantic.

With yesterday morning's tide, the shark could have slid beneath the bridge, out of the lagoon, and into adjacent Hadley Harbor, though this would only have worsened its situation. The shark would then have to take a more roundabout route to the ocean.

Joyce expressed sympathy for the sea creature.

"It's got to be pretty scary for her, especially with all the boats," he said from the deck of his 21-foot Sea Craft.

Massachusetts Environmental Police are trying to minimize stress on the shark by keeping spectators out of the lagoon. Only scientists and state environmental officials are allowed inside that perimeter.

Joyce and a friend, Joe Pearce, 30, were on their way from Woods Hole to a campsite on Washburn Island in Waquoit Bay and decided to take the detour to Naushon to check out the shark.

Pearce gleefully described a recent nighttime encounter with three large bucks on a Colorado highway. Now he imagined a photo-op with a great white for his collection of nature photographs.

And lo and behold, he got it.

Published: September 26, 2004

Device will track great white shark's travels

Published: Saturday, Sep. 25, 2004

FALMOUTH, Mass. (AP) - Marine researchers tagged a 15-foot great white shark off Cape Cod this week, the first time a great white has been outfitted with a device that will store information about the creature's travels.

The 1,700-pound female shark was first spotted Tuesday. Gregory Skomal, a shark specialist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, used a six-foot spear to attach the tag to the shark‚s dorsal fin Thursday near Hadley Harbor, off Naushon Island.

The tag does not immediately transmit data about the shark's whereabouts; rather, it archives information about the shark's travels, and is programmed to pop off in April 2005, float to the surface, and send its archived data all at once.

People have been flocking to the area to catch a glimpse of the shark as it circles in the shallow waters off Naushon. Skomal said the animal appears healthy.

The shark has apparently spent several days in the somewhat enclosed area framed by Woods Hole, Naushon Island, and two smaller islands, Uncatena and Nonamesset.

Scientists said the gathered data will provide a windfall of information about the migrations of the great white shark.

"It's a very exciting event. We're not characterizing it at all as a dangerous event for the shark" said Frank Almeida, deputy director of the Northeast Science Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‚s office in Wood's Hole.

Great whites are common in the deeper waters south of Martha's Vineyard, but they rarely venture so close to the mainland. In recent years, a rebounding seal population has led to an increase in sightings near Cape Cod, experts say.

A great white was responsible for the last fatal shark attack in Massachusetts, in 1936, when a child was killed while swimming in Buzzards Bay near Mattapoisett.

Monday, September 27, 2004 1:56 PM

Full moon may aid great white shark

Falmouth, MASS - AP

Marine researchers say a full moon may help a 15-foot great white shark return to deeper seas.

It's been one week since the 1700-pound female shark was first spotted off Cape Cod.

People have been flocking to the area to catch a glimpse as it circles in the shallow waters off Naushon Island.

The shark has spent several days in the somewhat enclosed area framed by Woods Hole, Naushon Island, and two smaller islands, Uncatena and Nonamesset.

Daniel McKiernan, deputy director of the state's Marine Fisheries office, says a full moon Tuesday and Wednesday will bring high tide, which may prompt the shark to return to deeper waters.

Scientists Worried About Shark Gawkers

Fish Not In Big Hurry To Leave

7:04 am EDT September 27, 2004

FALMOUTH, Mass

Marine scientists are starting to worry about gawkers trying to catch a climpse of a visiting great white shark off Cape Cod.

Frank Almeida, deputy director of the Northeast Science Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's office in Wood's Hole, said officials are going to have a stronger presence near the shark.

He said officials are worried that people who are coming to see the 1,700-pound female shark are putting themselves at risk.

The shark was spotted Tuesday, and was tagged with a data-collection device that will log where it travels. It's been circling in an estuary off Naushon Island

But the shark doesn't appear to be in a big hurry to leave, and some residents have been heading to the area to try to spot the creature.

The Cape COd Times is going to be covering the events daily:

http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/hightides27.htm

High tides could help shark return to sea

CAPE COD TIMES

NAUSHON ISLAND - A great white shark that drifted too close to shore remained stuck in a salty lagoon off Naushon Island yesterday.

But marine experts were hopeful that high tides tomorrow or storm surges caused by Hurricane Jeanne will create the high waters the shark will need to return to sea.

"We just may get higher waters than the tide would provide otherwise," said Dan McKiernan of the Division of Marine Fisheries.

First spotted off the Elizabeth Islands on Tuesday, the 1,700-pound shark has been under constant watch by authorities.

Marine biologists and state environmental police continued to watch the great white closely yesterday, monitoring its health and protecting it from tourists and trophy fishermen.

Scientists had tried to lure the shark out of the 20-foot-deep waters off Woods Hole, but failed.

They believe the shark chased prey into the bay on a high tide, then decided to stay or became disoriented.

The shark appeared healthy yesterday, McKiernan said. It could survive for weeks in the bay, especially if it enjoyed a large meal before it became trapped, he said.

Published: September 27, 2004

Shark gawkers worry experts

The state plans new measures aimed at keeping the public safe.

September 28, 200

By ERIC GERSHO

STAFF WRITE

Increasingly worried about public safety, state officials plan to expand security around the Naushon Island lagoon where a great white shark has been trapped for a week.

The Massachusetts Environmental Police have kept sightseers out of the lagoon, but gawkers have been able to get within 10 yards of the 14-foot, 1,700-pound fish by approaching a narrow outlet at one end.

The state Division of Marine Fisheries did not provide details about the new public safety measures last night, but a spokesman indicated they would include new warning signs at a minimum.

"The smallest of vessels are going into this area," spokesman Dan McKiernan said.

Some curiosity-seekers have approached in dinghies and kayaks far smaller than the shark.

Environmental police boats have been patrolling the area day and night since authorities learned of the shark's presence last week.

Yesterday the creature was still cruising the lagoon, a longtime swimming hole for visitors to Naushon, a private island.

McKiernan said he did not know of anyone who had been arrested for encroaching on the area, which is in the Elizabeth Islands off Woods Hole.

But visitors in boats large and small have for days been idling at the edge of a narrow sluiceway leading from one end of the lagoon.

A private pedestrian bridge spans the sluiceway, which is wide and deep enough for the shark to pass through and into a series of harbors within the Elizabeth Islands.

Some of the harbors include mooring fields.

"The shark may have already scooted under the bridge," McKiernan said last night, after marine biologists left the site for the night.

There was no indication that the great white shark, which has no known predators, had actually entered the harbor, and both McKiernan and Greg Skomal, a Fisheries' shark expert, said it was still in the lagoon.

The last fatal great white attack on a human in Massachusetts waters occurred in 1936 off Mattapoisett.

Biologists hope the shark - which they think swam into the lagoon on a high tide last week - will return to the open ocean on today's high tides.

Remnants of Jeanne, the latest hurricane to batter Florida, are expected to soak southeastern Massachusetts today, lifting tides well above normal.

"It's all about waiting," McKiernan said.

The shark was first spotted last Tuesday. Shortly thereafter biologists tried but failed to herd it out of the lagoon with boats. They've been waiting for the shark to leave since.

It is not clear what authorities will do if the shark, which has not yet tried to harm anyone, does not leave on today's high tide.

But they appear eager for the shark to exit the lagoon soon. More common in the Pacific waters off South Africa, Australia and the California coast, great white sharks do not like cold water.

"At some point it's going to get cold here and that shark is going to have to leave," Skomal said last week.

Skomal, the state's top shark expert, has been on the water near the shark every day for the last week.

He said he's only been home to Martha's Vineyard twice in the last week and hardly slept.

"There's a tremendous amount of anxiety, so when I lie down I don't necessarily sleep."

Playing tag with a great white

Scientists are eager to see what a high-tech tracking device can tell them about the animal's habits.

By DOUG FRASER

STAFF WRITER

When Greg Skomal jabbed an electronic tag into a great white shark's dorsal fin last week, he hoped to pierce the mystery surrounding the massive and often misunderstood predator.

The shark was lurking off Woods Hole for several days before entering a small Naushon Island inlet, where it has been circling since Friday, unable to make its way back to deeper waters.

Marine biologists are considering how to draw the shark back to Nantucket Sound, where the high-tech tag attached by Skomal, a Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries shark expert, will go to work.

Only 36 great white sharks in the Atlantic have been tagged in the past 40 years, and this particular device promised to fill in some big information gaps about the ocean's top predator.

Until last week, tagged great whites sported a simple plastic clip dangling from a fin that had the address of the Apex Predator Program in Narragansett, R.I.

But science based on "Return Requested" hasn't worked out very well - only two of the 36 tags, from sharks tagged off Long Island, have been returned.

"The data we get is usually point A to point B," said Lisa Matanson, a shark scientist at the Apex Predator Program. That tells scientists nothing of what happened between, and you need a lot of A's to B's to discern any meaningful migration patterns. An Atlantic bluefin tuna tagging project, for instance, has more than 500 tagged fish, with a goal of 1,000.

The tag placed last week on the 14-foot, 1,700-pound great white is a different type, known as an archival pop-up tag. It stores key data such as light intensity, hourly water pressure and temperature readings, for up to 500 days.

Information via satellites

On April 1, a mild electric current will pass along the wire tethering the cigar-shaped tag to the shark. This encourages a chemical reaction with seawater that eats quickly through the wire, sending the instrument to the surface where it will "pop up" and start uploading information via satellites that is then sent to researchers.

The shark's movements as it dives and surfaces are recorded using water pressure to measure depth. Position is determined by locating the shark based on the time of sunset and sunrise, and then using a light sensor that measures the intensity of light, factoring in the recorded depth.

That gives scientists a three-dimensional portrait of where the shark goes in a year and what water temperature it prefers, as well as the preferred depths. Originally developed to track birds using sunset and sunrise for location, the fish tags can resist water pressure of 6,500 feet and are programmed to release if the animal dives deeper than that or stays at the surface or ocean bottom long enough to be considered dead or separated from the tag.

Tags used in tuna research

Satellite pop-ups, which average $4,000 each, were instrumental in bluefin tuna research that led to the discovery of an unknown spawning ground in the middle of the Atlantic. This challenged the long-held theory that there were separate European and American stocks of bluefin that had to be managed individually.

While new to the Atlantic, these tags have been employed by West Coast and South African researchers. California researchers at the Point Reyes Bird Observatory on the Farallone Islands found that the four sharks they tagged dived as deep as 2,040 feet, but spent 90 percent of the day either within 15 feet of the surface or between 900 and 1,500 feet below. At least one of the animals cruised to Hawaii, 2,280 miles from where it was tagged.

"This tag shows what a shark does in between point A and point B," Matanson said. "Do they do dives at a certain time to look for prey."

But one sophisticated tag will provide only another piece of a puzzle that still has too many pieces missing. Scientists don't know where great whites go to spawn, where they give birth, or how many pups each female produces.

"We need good, hard data," Matanson said.

With a creature as solitary and rarely seen as the Atlantic great white, that information may be a long time coming.

Bait can't lure shark to open water

By ERIC GERSHO

STAFF WRITE

A great white shark that scoffs at free food?

That's Gretel, the newly named female great white that has been circling a lagoon off Naushon Island for more than a week.

Biologists have tried several times to lure the 14-foot shark out of the shallow embayment by laying a trail of bait bags in the water.

But Gretel, who is estimated to weigh 1,700 pounds, just won't bite, apparently.

"That didn't seem to attract it at all," said Paul Diodati, director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries, which has been supervising the shark's stay in local waters. "It's not now in the feeding mode."

On Monday, the man who tagged the shark with an electronic data device last week, tagged a name on the giant fish.

Greg Skomal - the state's shark expert, who has often been asked the shark's name - told CBS's "The Early Show" he thought Gretel was a fitting name for a lady great white.

Biologists want the shark, which probably entered the lagoon on a high tide last week, to leave the way it came. Heavy rain drenched Southeastern Massachusetts yesterday, producing exceptionally high tides.

Yesterday - a week after it is thought to have arrived - the shark still lingered at West Gutter, ceaselessly gliding through the shallow water of the once- popular swimming hole at Naushon, a private island near Woods Hole.

"They're animals of habit, and right now it's habitually circling," said Diodati. Gretel "doesn't seem particularly interested in moving off yet," he said.

Scientists do not know for certain whether the massive fish has been feeding while in the lagoon, but say the great white can live off one large meal for weeks.

Diodati said Gretel appears to remain healthy, if disoriented.

Biologists want the shark to return to the open ocean soon, for shark and human safety, as well as for the sake of science.

Marine biologists hope the data-gathering device placed on the shark's dorsal fin last week will yield revealing new information about its lifestyle, especially in the Atlantic.

Fisheries' officials are also alarmed by people approaching the outlet at one end of the lagoon in small watercraft. People sidle up to the outlet, which is crossed by a private footbridge, in dinghies and kayaks smaller than the shark.

"There's nothing that prevents the shark from going under that bridge," Diodati said.

He said Massachusetts Environmental Police would probably soon begin blocking access to both sides of the bridge. They're now blocking only one entrance to the lagoon.

Published: September 29, 2004

MarineFisheries Advisory

September 28, 2004

WHITE SHARK DAILY UPDATE

Scientists with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) are continuing to monitor a 14-foot white shark that has been lingering within a small embayment off the coast of Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The shark has been in the area for at least the past week and its rare presence in New England coastal waters has attracted worldwide curiosity.

To date it has showed no interest in food as researchers have attempted to bait the animal several times in hope of luring it from the area. The shark has remained consistent in maintaining a circling pattern within the embayment. Stormy weather expected over the next 24 hours provides reason for cautious optimism that tidal heights may increase and the shark will leave on its own accord.

The shark appears to be in good health, based on observations made earlier today by MarineFisheries' Biologists using underwater cameras. Nevertheless, given the unprecedented occurrence of such a large shark in relatively shallow coastal waters, it makes for a rather unpredictable situation; and accordingly, state, federal and local authorities will be working closely to limit public access to the immediate area that contains the shark as well as surrounding areas if warranted. Public and media cooperation in this regard is appreciated, as all parties are committed to protecting the public at-large, as well as safeguarding the well-being of the shark.

Media updates including descriptions of any attempts to forcibly move the shark from the area will be posted at this site on a daily basis.

Paul J. Diodati

Director

'Control Zone' Enforced Around Great White Shark

Officials Keep Sightseers Away From Animal

POSTED: 12:18 pm EDT September 30, 2004

FALMOUTH, Mass. -- Menacing. A threat to public safety. And that's just the sightseers.

Officials on Thursday enforced a "control zone" to keep people away from a great white shark that has patrolled a lagoon off Naushon Island, near Cape Cod, for more than a week.

Marine biologists had hoped the exceptionally high tides associated with the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne would coax the 15-foot, 1,700-pound female back to open water.

But that didn't happen. Nor did the animal respond to an attempt by state officials to lure it out of the lagoon with bait.

One problem may be the scores of sightseers who have taken their boats to the island for a glimpse of the giant predator. They could be impeding the shark's ability to return to open waters, experts said.

So the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries began ordering boaters to stay at least 1,000 yards away.

"This control zone is needed to safeguard mariners, swimmers, divers, and other users of these waters from dangers associated with a shark," Marine Fisheries Director Paul J. Diodati said in a prepared statement.

Officials say the shark appears healthy and has shown no signs of erratic behavior.

New plan set to free shark

By ERIC GERSHON

STAFF WRITER

Desperate to evacuate a massive great white shark from the Naushon Island lagoon where it has been trapped for more than a week, scientists are now planning aggressive new ways to remove it.

Repeated efforts to entice the 14-foot female toward the open ocean with a slick of chum, or ground fish, have failed, and with each passing day wildlife experts grow more concerned about public safety and the welfare of the fish.

An attempt yesterday to drive the fish out by clouding the lagoon water with sediment also failed, according to the division.

"Now we have to take some kind of action," Division of Marine Fisheries spokesman Dan McKiernan said last night. "We'd like to get this shark out in the next few days."

Also yesterday, Fisheries Director Paul Diodati declared that no "vessel or person" may enter within 1,000 yards of the southernmost point of Monohansett Island, which, with Naushon Island, forms the lagoon and channel.

State environmental police have been controlling access to the area, but sightseers in dinghies and kayaks have managed to come within 10 yards of the shark, the ocean's fiercest known predator.

Recently named Gretel, the shark was first spotted Sept. 21 by a fisherman. It has since been circling West Gutter, a saltwater pond between two of the Elizabeth Islands and has menaced no one.

McKiernan declined to say what new methods scientists would use to remove the shark, but he described them as "more active and creative."

Diodati would outline them today, he said.

For the first time since the shark appeared, Fisheries yesterday publicly expressed urgency about the shark's departure.

"This animal seems to be making decisions not to swim out of this channel," McKiernan said.

Greg Skomal, the state's top shark expert, was consulting yesterday with experts in Australia and elsewhere overseas, McKiernan said.

When asked, McKiernan said biologists have considered hooking the fish, dragging it into open waters, then releasing it - a method called catch and release - but said this was a tactic of last resort.

Both the lagoon where the shark has been living and the channel linking it to Lackey's Bay and the ocean beyond are too shallow to admit larger boats better able to tug the powerful creature.

"Seventeen-hundred pounds of fish fighting you is tough," he said, "especially if in the end your goal is to have the fish swim away."

Last Thursday, Skomal placed a data-gathering tag on the shark. Biologists want the fish to survive and return to the ocean so the tag can later transmit information about the fish's lifestyle.

Little is known about the great white shark's movements in the Atlantic Ocean.

Why exactly the shark has not left on its own remains a mystery. Scientists speculate that the channel mouth may be too shallow and too rocky.

They had hoped it would leave on yesterday's surging storm tides, the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne, but it did not.

Underwater video footage taken with cameras on poles indicates the shark remains healthy, but scientists have no evidence that it has been eating anything at all, McKiernan said.

After great whites reach half-a-ton in weight, they typically prey on seals and other fatty marine mammals not present in the lagoon.

"There's just not enough for this fish to eat in there," McKiernan said. "This animal needs to eat meat."

Cape Cod Times

Experts: Shark must go

By ERIC GERSHON

STAFF WRITER

FALMOUTH - State wildlife officials said for the first time yesterday that the great white shark trapped near Naushon Island would menace humans if it did not return to open sea. They vowed to remove it by tomorrow.

The 14-foot, 1,700-pound shark left the lagoon Wednesday night for the first time since a fisherman spotted it on Sept. 21, officials said. The shark returned, however, and experts said it seemed unlikely to leave on its own.

The shark swam out of West Gutter lagoon into Hadleys Harbor, where hundreds of curiosity seekers have gathered over the last 10 days - some in tiny boats and kayaks - to see the massive creature.

Parts of Hadleys Harbor contain mooring fields open to the public.

"Ultimately it will pose a threat," Dave Peters, commissioner of the state Department of Fish and Game, told reporters at Falmouth Harbor.

If the shark is still in the lagoon today , commercial fishermen working for the Division of Marine Fisheries will try to force it out to sea using nylon nets in a process called weir fishing, officials said.

Repeated attempts to lure the shark out of the lagoon with fish bait have failed. An effort to drive it out with a lime-based repellent also failed, despite the fact the fish is "physically capable of leaving," Peters said.

"It's clear the shark is going to need some prompting to leave," he said.

Biologists - who are adamant that the shark survive and return to sea unharmed - also plan to use electric rods imported from South Africa to drive the shark into Lackeys Harbor and the sea beyond.

Scientists say they hope a data transmitter affixed to the shark on Sept. 23 will reveal new information about the mysterious great white's lifestyle, especially in the Atlantic.

But after lingering in and around West Gutter - once a popular swimming hole - for 10 days, the shark must be driven away as soon as possible, officials declared yesterday.

"It is time for the shark to leave," said Paul Diodati, director of the Division of Marine Fisheries.

Commercial fishermen experienced in catching large fish with nets have volunteered to try to move the shark through a series of nylon nets and into Lackey's Bay, Diodati said.

He declined to identify the fishermen or say how many would be involved in the operation, which he said would most likely occur today. Diodati said the fishermen had declined payment, but said the state would reimburse them for any damage to their boats and equipment.

Yesterday afternoon and evening biologists were testing several special prods called "shark shields," which arrived earlier this week from South Africa by Federal Express.

They hoped the prods - wires that electrify the water but do not actually touch the shark - would drive the shark away, possibly by today.

If not, the fishermen would try to herd the enormous fish - one of the most ferocious killers in the natural world - back to sea, Diodati said.

The shark shields would not harm the shark, Diodati said. They deliver a shock "that's less than a bee sting to you and I," he said.

After the shark leaves the lagoon, officials plan to string a net across the mouth of the channel to discourage the shark from returning.

At full speed, the shark could easily barrel through the nets, Diodati said, but scientists do not expect the shark to try.

Scientists have been unable to explain why the shark, a deep-water creature, has remained so long in the lagoon, which is 15 to 20 feet deep and in places much less.

At first they thought it entered on an unusually high tide and simply needed another one to get out. But despite surging tides on Tuesday and Wednesday, the shark did not try to exit.

It briefly entered an adjacent, still shallower bay, then returned to West Gutter.

State Environmental Police and the Coast Guard, as well as private security guards on Naushon, a private island, would be enforcing the security perimeter 24 hours a day until the shark was gone.

The shark's presence, the news of which has gone worldwide, has drawn crowds to Woods Hole, creating a mini-economic boom for the area.

R & R Marine, a single charter boat company on Water Street in Woods Hole, ferried hundreds of paying customers to see the shark, until the state imposed a 1,000-yard security perimeter around the lagoon.

The company was charging $100 per trip.

Mike Ryan, proprietor of R & R, said he had transported people who had come from as far away as Canada to see the shark.

Joe Perry, guitarist of the Boston band Aerosmith, chartered Ryan's boat with his family to witness the spectacle, Ryan said.

Diodati said he was confident the shark would be gone by tomorrow at the latest.

But, he said, "No one's completely prepared for this type of event."

Published: October 1, 2004