State Offers Cash To Deal With Shark Attacks on Cape Cod – But Only After They Occur

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State officials are allocating $383,000 to provide emergency call boxes, satellite phones, and all-terrain vehicles to help victims of shark attacks on the Outer Cape – but nothing so far to prevent them.

Six Outer Cape towns are getting the money, including Truro and Wellfleet, where major shark attacks took place last summer. On August 15, a 61-year-old man in the water off Truro was seriously injured by a great white shark, sustaining wounds to his hip and torso that required extensive hospitalization. On September 15, a 26-year-old man in the water off Wellfleet was killed by a great white shark.

The other recipients of the grant are Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, and Provincetown.

The Baker administration made the announcement in a five-paragraph press release Tuesday – which, as a story in State House News Service notes, never mentions the word “shark.”

Instead, the written statement says the allocations are for “municipal preparedness and response programs.”

Sharks have become prevalent during the last several years in the waters off the Outer Cape, drawn by tens of thousands of seals that sharks like to eat. Swimmers, surfers, kayakers, and boogie boarders have had close encounters with great whites.

Some Outer Cape residents are conducting a GoFundMe campaign to try to raise money for two sonar-detecting alert buoys that could provide warning to beachgoers of the presence of a shark. The campaign is called the Arthur Clever Buoy Pilot. It derives its name from Arthur Medici, the 26-year-old Brazil native who was living in Revere at the time he was killed by a great white shark last September; and Clever Buoy, a product made by a company called Smart Marine Systems, in Australia.

As of Wednesday afternoon, organizers had raised about $36,000 of their $200,000 goal.

In Chatham, at the elbow of Cape Cod, where its south coast rounds the bend north and starts up the Outer Cape, some town officials want to install a barrier to prevent sharks from going from Nantucket Sound south of the town up an inland waterway into Oyster Pond, which has a sandy area called Children’s Beach.

As for the items the state is willing to fund immediately, they are designed to get treatment for a shark attack victim, in hopes of preventing the victim from bleeding out.

Several Outer Cape beaches have iffy cell phone service, so call boxes and satellite phones are meant to get word to a local fire department that can send an ambulance quickly. All-terrain vehicles would help rescuers get a victim from the waterside to a beach parking lot, where an ambulance or helicopter could then take a victim to the hospital.

Officials of Governor Charlie Baker’s administration noted Tuesday that the $383,000 allocation responds to requests made by towns on the Outer Cape.

“Our administration is pleased to provide funds to address critical infrastructure equipment needs as it relates to the safety of all Massachusetts residents and visitors. We are grateful to our partners at the local level and in the Legislature for continuing to work together with us to address this important issue,” Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito said in a written statement.

Local officials are pleased with the quick action of the administration but they don’t imagine that it solves the shark problem.

“This is a good first step,” state Senator Julian Cry (D-Provincetown) said in a written statement.