Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Massachusetts adds restrictions on shark cruises

Massachusetts is cracking down on shark cruises off its Atlantic Ocean beaches.

Massachusetts is cracking down on shark cruises off its Atlantic Ocean beaches, worried that the tourist-drawing stunt of baiting great white sharks could lead to an increase in attacks on swimmers.

Visitors have associated the New England state's beaches with the massive predators since the 1975 Academy Award-winning movie "Jaws," which was largely shot on the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard off Cape Cod, according to Reuters.

For the last five years, the state has seen regular summer visits from great whites as large as 17 feet, according to state records. Last season, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy counted 68 unique white sharks off Cape Cod.

The phenomenon has sparked a cottage industry of shark tourist cruises in which visitors are invited to toss chopped-up fish parts known as "chum" and seal decoys into the water in hopes of spotting one of the giant sharks.

Worried that the tours could lead the sharks to associate people with food, the state's Division of Fisheries this month imposed restrictions making it illegal to attract or capture the sharks without a "white shark special permit" from the agency. Companies and people who violate the rule will face fines of as much as $100, according to a state directive.

California put a similar regulation in place last year.

A person who answered the phone at Cape Cod Shark Adventures, one of the companies offering shark tours, declined to comment on the regulations, saying only that they cast sharks in a "negative" light and could damage his business. He hung up the phone when asked for his name.

In an illustration of the risks sharks can pose, two swimmers were injured in shark attacks while swimming off North Carolina's Oak Island on June 14. A 16-year-old boy lost an arm and a 12-year-old girl lost part of an arm.

Another shark-themed Cape Cod business welcomed Massachusetts' move, calling it necessary to keep tourists confident of their safety while swimming.

"It's dangerous to do anything that attracts sharks to people and boats because then they get accustomed to interacting with humans," said Justin Labdon, whose Chatham gift shop capitalizes on sharks' popularity with a "Chatham Whites" line of clothing with a great white logo. "If the interest in sharks goes away, it's going to be because someone got killed, that will tank my business. Not this."

Related

Year-End Tax Planning Guidance

These tips can help employers maximize cash savings, minimize tax exposure and more

Mercury Marine to Open Ind. Distribution Center

The new 512,000-square-foot facility will help the manufacturer meet record consumer demand for parts and accessories. The company is also expanding production at its main campus in Wisconsin.

GM Invests $150 Million in Pure Watercraft

An interview with Pure founder and CEO Andy Rebele.

Sea Tow, Southport Boats Form “Peace of Mind” Partnership

Sea Tow’s Gold Card, which includes two years of coverage, will now come standard with new Southport models.

Yamaha Rightwaters Goes International

The conservation initiative becomes an international effort as Yamaha Motor Australia joins a cleaner-ocean campaign.

Perfect Timing

With all the new boats sold recently, it’s inevitable that a good percentage will wind up on the used market. MRAA has launched a Certified Pre-Owned Boat Program to help dealers strengthen this profit center.

A Boatbuilder in Congress?

Robert Healey Jr., of Viking Yacht Co., is running for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in New Jersey.

Monterey and Blackfin to Expand Operations

The company will add 50,000 square feet of manufacturing space to meet increased demand, creating 150 job opportunities.