August 2, 2013

Second Maine shark sighting this week could be great white

An expert assesses a video made by lobstermen that shows the shark eating a whale carcass about five miles from Boothbay Harbor’s inner harbor Tuesday.

By David Hench
Staff Writer

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The National Park Service offers some advice for swimmers in Cape Cod as shark sightings have increased there.

Seals are a primary food source for white sharks and are cited as the reason white sharks have been congregating around Chatham, Mass., on Cape Cod, he said.

Great white shark attacks on humans are extremely rare, he said.

"You have a much greater chance of dying by getting hit by a toilet seat in a freak accident, struck by lightning, you name it, than being attacked and eaten by a shark," he said.

Sulikowski focuses his research on porbeagle sharks. The Gulf of Maine appears to be a nursery for those sharks, borne out by researchers' ability to catch juveniles just 3 feet long, he said.

Maine has experience with great whites.

According to "Fishes of the Gulf of Maine," a fishery bulletin put out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1953: "We find scattered records from the vicinity of Portland, Maine, most recently, a 13-footer caught in a gill net off Casco Bay in November 1931."

The report adds, "a very large one (estimated as about 26 feet long) taken in a weir at Campobello Island, November 23, 1932."

"It was suggested locally," the report says, "that it may have been the same specimen that had attacked a fishing boat off Digby, Nova Scotia, the preceding July."

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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