In Jaws, Mayor Larry Vaughn is concerned that if the beaches are closed in Amity then ‘if people can't swim here, they'll be glad to swim in the beaches of Cape Cod, the Hamptons, Long Island.’
Today, it is the Massachusetts communities of Cape Cod that is worried about their very own great white shark problem and the rising concern over both safety and tourism.
They are looking into ways of protecting the shore - and their livelihoods - from the growing number of great whites in the area. And yes, some people are saying ‘close the beaches’, whilst others are asking them to remain open.
Who to side with, the sharks or the summer dollars? Some are asking for early warning systems to be put in place.
So, why are the sharks in such an abundance? Well, that is thanks to the close promixinity of a plentiful seal population. And, unfortunately, those sharks have been getting us and them mixed up, some have been reported less than 100 metres from beaches full of people.
Last August a 61 year old male was bit in the hip and torso by a species described as a great white, although there was lots of bleeding, he got off lightly. Just a month later a 26 year old man was killed by a great white whilst riding his boogie board. This was the first fatality in these waters by shark attack in 80 years.
Five great whites were tagged in 2009 there and in an article in the National Geographic - of all places - in 2016 they were already saying er. “It’s not if, it’s when, in terms of somebody being fatally attacked.”
Prior to the fatality the towns had embraced the sharks, a local high school even changing its mascot to one and the local movie theatre playing Jaws, what else? Has the tide now turned against the sharks?
The 70 miles of coast is now under review by The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute to look at how they can help keep the sharks at bay - that could include everything from seal contraception to enclosures around the beaches. No whistles?
The cloud in the shape of a killer shark still clearly hangs over the Cape Cod area and local people aren’t taking any chances, ensuring that emergency measures are stepped up and more ‘stop the bleed’ kits have been ordered. Some have called for everything from planes to drones and balloons to act as an early warning system.
Whilst others are calling for the sharks to be baited and killed, sound familiar?
The findings of that Oceanographic Insitute report is due in June, meaning that perhaps it is too early to say if those beaches will be open this 4th of July weekend.
Do you live in the Cape Cod area, or have you visited? We’d love to hear your experiences.
How do you think Cape Cod should handle its shark problem?