White shark researchers on Cape Cod shift focus to beach safety

CHATHAM, Mass. — White shark researcher Greg Skomal spends most of his summer off the coast of Cape Cod.

He gets up close and personal with white sharks so he can tag and track them.

Skomal says much of his research during the last 10 years has focused on the biology of sharks. But now it's changing, with a new study designed to improve public safety.

He and his team will be looking at where, when and how sharks are killing seals and if there's a pattern to it.

"If there are patterns to it, it allows for forecasting and predictability so we'll be able to advise beach managers," Skomal explained.

His team already tracks sharks and receives alerts when they're near beaches.

But starting this summer, his team will attach acoustic receivers to buoys that can record signals from sharks that have already been tagged -- which is more than 150 great whites.

It will show specifics on how the sharks move, not just where they are.

Skomal hopes the information on sharks and seals will better help beach managers and public safety officials.

"We want to drill down deeper and understand that relationship so we can provide information that will be useful for enhanced public safety," Skomal said.

He admits it's a tough task. Skomal expects the study to take the entire summer and hopes it will start to provide answers in just a few months.

Skomal said they were hoping to start their research for the season starting this week. But because of the rain chances, they've held off.

They hope to hit the water later this week or early next week.

MORE: What you need to know as sharks arrive in New England

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