Development and testing of a near real-time white shark forecast system for Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Megan Winton, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy
Greg Skomal, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
The PIs will develop and evaluate near real-time ‘shark forecast’ maps that can be disseminated by town and beach managers and via the AWSC’s ‘Sharktivity’ app to alert beachgoers when conditions indicate a high probability of white shark presence. The concept is based on acoustic telemetry data from tagged sharks and satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST) and water turbidity data. Available tagging data suggest that temperature is a factor in the distribution of sharks, and that variations in ambient light levels due to cloud cover and water turbidity are linked to when and how the sharks hunt. The scientists plan to test the concept by retroactively forecasting the probability of white shark presence in previous years and validate it using available tagging data.