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Watch: First great white shark of 2022 season tagged in Chatham waters

The state has seen a surge in shark sightings in recent weeks, prompting a few beach closures.

A shark swims approximately 50 meters off the coast of the Cape Cod National Sea Shore in Cape Cod, Massachusetts on July 15, 2022. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

The first great white shark of the 2022 summer season was tagged off the Chatham coast Thursday, according to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC).

Dr. Greg Skomal tagged the animal off the Chatham north inlet, along with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the AWSC, a nonprofit scientific research center. A short video posted to the AWSC’s Instagram and Facebook pages shows Dr. Skomal standing on a platform above the white shark before tagging it near the fin using a long white pole. 

The tagged shark will be entered into the AWSC’s Sharktivity App, which tracks white sharks off the Massachusetts coast, so beachgoers know their most recent locations. Researchers, safety officials, and users can upload information about shark sightings through the app. Members of the public submit photos as confirmation of the shark sighting.

A screenshot from the Sharktivity app.

The state has seen a surge in shark sightings in recent weeks, prompting a few beach closures.

A person runs as a shark swims just meters away on the Cape Cod National Sea Shore on the eastern side of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on July 15, 2022. – JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

According to the app, there have been about two dozen white shark sightings off the Massachusetts coast in the last week. Of those, about half have been spotted off Cape Cod. But a shark sighting at Horseneck Beach in Westport prompted a brief beach closure on Wednesday. Last month, Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro also temporarily closed due to a sighting.

A shark swims just off the Cape Cod National Sea Shore in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on July 15, 2022. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images) – Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images

White sharks were designated as a protected species in most federal waters in 1997 and later, in Massachusetts state waters in 2005, according to the AWSC. According to the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, seasonal white shark sightings off the Massachusetts coast have spiked in recent years. July is their most active month off Bay State waters due to a seasonal rise in water temperature.

Gray and harbor seals, favored prey of sharks, bask in the sun at the Cape Cod National Sea Shore in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on July 15, 2022. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

The average female white shark measures 15 to 16 feet long, according to the Smithsonian Institution, while male white sharks reach between 11 and 13 feet. In rare cases, white sharks can grow as long as 20 feet.

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