Massachusetts swimmers on edge after shark sightings

Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:51pm EDT
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By Ros Krasny

BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - A string of shark sightings over the past few weeks has rattled swimmers in Massachusetts at the height of the summer vacation season and sparked memories of the "Jaws" movie hysteria.

Officials in the town of Chatham on Cape Cod have warned beach-goers to stay close to shore after "numerous" sightings of great white sharks.

"Swimmers should exercise caution while swimming in Chatham's ocean waters," the harbormaster's office said in a notice posted on Chatham's website.

The town "is strongly suggesting that beach-goers and swimmers pay close attention to their surroundings while in the water, and to not venture too far from shore. If a shark is sighted, please get out of the water."

People have been prohibited from swimming within 300 feet of seals along Chatham's oceanside waters because seals often attract sharks.

The infamous great white shark can reach about 20 feet in length and weigh some 5,000 pounds.

On Tuesday, a great white shark was tagged off South Beach in Chatham during a Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries expedition.

At least three others were spotted close to one of the popular beaches there, and authorities warned that further sightings should be expected.   Continued...