Aug 062017

by Natasha Heinz

It is not possible to visit the Vineyard without being reminded that a shark once created chaos on the island… in a movie. The iconic film “Jaws,” which still has many people suspect of sea waters, was filmed in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Menemsha. Many of the movie’s sensational scene locations still attract visitors.

And a festering question remains. Are there sharks around the island? Simply put, yes.

For more information about it, attend Dr. Greg Skomal’s lecture, “The Boneyard Presents: Seeing Deeper into the World of Great White Shark.” The event will be held on Tuesday, August 8, at 7 p.m. at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown.

Dr. Skomal is a marine biologist from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. He leads a research study about the presence of white sharks in the North Atlantic. Martha’s Vineyard was recently included in the program when a buoy was deployed from South Beach.

But don’t worry, a Jaws-like situation is not about to happen. Still, the island has seen an increase in the white shark population. The spike, however, is due to seals.

“The presence of seals has been growing over the last decade, which is a relatively new phenomenon” Dr. Skomal explains. “Be aware of the fact that when there is a large number of seals sharks will be there. They (sharks) are here to feed on seals, not people.” Over 100 white sharks have already been tagged for the study.

The August 8 event will focus on findings Dr. Skomal’s research team has discovered about the historical presence of this species around Massachusetts and New England. Also discussed will be the new sophisticated technologies being used.

“I am going to put what we know about the great white sharks into perspective in relation to what has been discovered historically,” Dr. Skomal says.

An open Q&A will follow the discussion to allow attendees to dive even deeper into the subject.

While the Vineyard is a new part of the white shark research, it is not a new place for Dr. Skomal. He has lives on the island for 23 years and made it a major part of his work.

A suggested donation of $20 is asked of people attending the event. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at the Boneyard (47 Main St, Edgartown) and online.

All proceeds go to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy to help fund the research.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Old Whaling Church, Edgartown

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