Lower Cape Group Meets to Discuss Shark Mitigation Alternatives Analysis

On Wednesday, February 13, 2019, the Town of Wellfleet hosted a meeting with the Woods Hole Group to discuss a proposed shark and human mitigation alternatives analysis project.

The meeting brought together Town Managers and public safety officials from the Towns of Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown, along with representatives from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, and Representative Sarah Peake's Chief of Staff.

The group discussed implementing the following actionable items in 2019: Improve communications at the beaches by installing emergency call boxes, expand lifeguard presence, increase the number of Emergency Medical Technicians on beaches, continue public education and outreach, provide first-aid training for community members and staff, reduce, to the extent possible, emergency response time, and expand white shark research.

The focus of the group's discussion was shark and human mitigation alternatives that have been identified by the group as strategies tried or implemented around the world and proposed by the community during public forms. The Woods Hole Group will be undertaking an independent review of emerging technologies and strategies by analyzing all proposed alternatives.  

The list of alternatives to be analyzed include:

Tech-based Alternatives

•       Tagging (Acoustic & Satellite)

•       Real-Time Alert (App-based, Alarm-based)

•       Visual Detection (Drones, Balloons, Spotter Plane, Towers)

•       Remote Detection (Buoy-based Sonar, Artificial Intelligence-Machine Learning)

•       Shark repellents (Magnetic / Electric / Acoustic Deterrent, including Wearable or, Surfboard-Mounted Technology, Orca recordings)

•       Adaptive Camouflage (Boards, Wetsuits)

Barrier-based Alternatives

·      Rigid Plastic Mesh Enclosures

·      Netted Enclosures

·      Bubble ‘Nets’

·      Simulated Kelp Forests

·      Magnetic Post Array

Biological-based Alternatives

·      Shark and / or Seal Culling, Indigenous Harvest

·      Seal Contraception

·      (Smart) Drum Lines

·      Chemical Repellants, including substances that mimic the smell of dead sharks to repel sharks and dead seals to repel seals

Human Behavior

·      Risk-based decision making

The group is seeking additional public feedback to ensure that all strategies are considered prior to the project start date. The public is encouraged to participate in a five-day survey period, February 15 - 19, 2019, to provide input on alternatives that are not already included in the scope of the project. Click HERE to participate in the survey.

The Woods Hole Group shark and human mitigation alternatives analysis project is scheduled to begin February 22, 2019. Once complete, the findings will be shared with the public and decisions to implement any strategy will be made at the individual town level.

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