Naturalist’s Corner: Atlantic white sharks
Posted June 24, 2020
Written by Kyla Isakson
Atlantic white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are cartilaginous fish that migrate to the western North Atlantic Ocean during the spring, summer, and fall. These animals are considered opportunistic predators, which means that they eat what is available including gray seals, fish, squid, and other sharks. Gray seals are a major part of the diet of Atlantic white sharks, and their increase in population has provided a steady food source.
Atlantic white sharks are apex predators, and their presence in the ecosystem is critical for a balanced and healthy marine environment. In 1997, Atlantic white sharks were designated as protected in federal waters, and in 2005, they were designated as protected in Massachusetts state waters. To study their movement, researchers have been tagging sharks to track where they swim and spend time.
Although the risk of a shark attack is low, the probability of encountering a shark is high when swimming in areas where sharks feed on seals. To learn more about how to stay safe around sharks, check out the information provided by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.
In addition to being cautious of sharks, it is important to be aware of the ways you can keep yourself and your family safe in and around water. Water safety is critical for a fun and safe summer. To learn more about how to be safe in and around water, visit Mass.gov.