Shark attacks lead to swimming ban in Nantucket

Swimming has been banned in some areas around Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, after five seals were attacked and killed near shore by great white sharks. according to the Nantucket current. One such attack, in which a seal was bitten in half, was caught on video.

Officials from the Trustees of Reservations, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the region’s environment, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have banned swimming along Great Point and the Nantucket National Wildlife Refuge. per NBC News.

“This is not a decision we made lightly,” Sarah Cassell, chief marketing and communications officer at the trustees, told the outlet on Tuesday.

“Visitor safety is our number one concern, especially given the remote location of this beach should a serious incident occur,” she continued. “We will continue to monitor shark activity in cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service.”

An aerial photograph Tuesday spotted nine great white sharks in the waters, with footage from locals like Nick Gault showing even more – the seal in particular is dismembered.

Diane Lang, who manages the local board of trustees, told Current that while local residents are aware of the dangers of swimming in the area, tourists are far from it.

“We saw people jumping into the water on July 4,” Lang said. “We have visitors who come out and are naïve about their surroundings.”

Seals have traditionally congregated at Great Point – and they are one of the harbor seals' main prey items.
Seals have traditionally congregated at Great Point – and they are one of the harbor seals’ main prey items.

Dave J Hogan via Getty Images

The new ban is a first for the trustees, as previous guidelines had only banned swimming at the top of Great Point — and that’s because of the current. According to Current, even confirmed shark sightings had previously only led to a two-hour bathing ban.

Lang said the seal attacks are extremely worrying.

“These videos are quite disturbing and no human could survive this, we know that,” Lang told the outlet. “The policy is now in effect. We advise visitors that swimming is prohibited at Great Point. I have contacted US Fish and Wildlife and they totally agree.”

Global Shark Attacks on Humans hit a 10-year low In 2022, only five out of 108 alleged encounters were fatal International File on Shark Attacks from the University of Florida. While sharks and seals – which are a major prey of great white sharks – have left Nantucket waters since the attacks and are expected to return.

Gray seals have always congregated at Great Point Barrier Beach.

“As such, there is currently no prospective timeline for how long the bathing ban may last,” David Eisenhauer, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told NBC News. “This is the first closure of the season due to shark activity.”

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