Scientists to gauge presence of white sharks off Maine

National

A great white shark is seen near a Santa Cruz County beach on May 6, 2020. Image by Eric Mailander

HARPSWELL, Maine (AP) — Maine wants to get a better idea of how many great white sharks there are in its inshore waters, and is partnering with other agencies to find out.

Sixty-three-year-old New Yorker Julie Dimperio Holowach was killed by a shark bite off Harpswell last month. Her death sparked interest in how many great whites there could be near Maine’s coast.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources says it will work with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to study the presence of the sharks.

The department says the effort will include placement of 20 acoustic receivers in nearshore waters to capture data from tags placed on white sharks.

Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expanding cod fishing in the area in the coming year.

The NOAA said in a statement the recreational fishing rules “can be liberalized somewhat” without risking exceeding fishing quotas.

The old rules limited cod fishing to September 15 to 30. The new rules expand the season for private boats to include April 1 to 14. The season for for-hire boats will be expanded to September 8 to October 7 and April 1 to 14.

Recreational fishing season for cod in the Gulf of Maine is tightly monitored because the fish’s population off the Northeast has dramatically declined in recent decades.

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