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Paper: More seals off Cape Cod means more sharks

November 12, 2011

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CHATHAM, Mass.—Researchers trying to explain an increasing number of great white shark visits to Cape Cod waters have reached an unsurprising conclusion: More seals mean more sharks.

State shark researcher Greg Smokal tells the Cape Cod Times ( the findings may seem obvious, given that the sharks eat seals. But he said the paper is laying the foundation for future research.

The paper says the number of great white sharks visiting waters off Chatham is relatively low, but it's been increasing with the booming seal population. For instance, the number of seal pups born to a breeding colony off Nantucket has risen from six in 1991 to more than 2,000 in 2008.

Smokal says researchers are trying to answer whether more shark sightings is just about more seals, or if their overall numbers are up.