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Cape Harbormaster Mulls New Shark Safety Measures

BOSTON — A Cape Cod harbormaster is proposing new emergency response plans in case of shark attacks.

The presence of great white sharks off the coast forced Nauset Beach to close through Labor Day weekend, prompting Orleans Harbormaster Dawson Farber to reevaluate the town’s emergency plans.

Farber says he will focus initially on outreach and public education in Cape communities.

“It’s our intent to get together on a regional basis and look at the issue from really the larger picture and see if we can get all of the communities on the same page,” he said.

Farber also said he wants to use new personal watercraft to increase response times in the case of an attack. He said it takes 15 to 20 minutes to reach victims by boat, but that this time could be cut down to just a few minutes.

“What we really need to do is look at alternative measures, perhaps the use of personal watercraft and some small vessel that can be launched very quickly at the public swimming beach for a rapid response,” he said.

Farber said mechanisms for keeping the sharks away from shore, such as fencing and SONAR, are not viable options, as they risk interfering with other species.

He said it is too early to speculate on what effect the proposed changes could have on revenues.

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