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Dead great white shark, 39 dolphins strand on Massachusetts coast

A dead 1,500 pound great white shark found off Westport, Mass. on Saturday (September 1, 2012)
A dead 1,500 pound great white shark found off Westport, Mass. on Saturday (September 1, 2012)
(Gary Severa)

A dead great white shark and 39 dolphins were founded stranded on the Massachusetts coast over the weekend.

Dead 13-foot, 1,500 pound great white shark found dead on coastal beach off Westport, Mass. on Saturday.
(CBS Boston)

WCVB reported a fisherman discovered a 13-foot, 1,500 pound great white shark carcass on South Shore Beach in Westport, less than a half-mile from public beaches in Little Compton, R.I. on Saturday.

Little Compton officials closed Goosewing and South Shore beaches after the shark was found. Both beaches reopened Sunday and police sent out a patrol boat to watch for other sharks.

State biologist Greg Skomal performed a necropsy on the male shark and found no signs of trauma.

Scientists say it isn’t unprecedented for the sharks to come up on land in that area.

“We’ve had it happen, on average, once every couple years. Generally smaller white sharks and usually it’s a result of some kind of interaction with fishing gear and fishermen aren’t allowed to keep them so they have to throw them overboard and they end up washing ashore,” said Greg Skomel, a shark scientist.

Officials plan to leave the shark's body where it is.

"There's really no means to move an animal of that size," said Krista Selmi, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

The discovery came on the same day that 39 dolphins also stranded themselves along the coast.

A spokeswoman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) told the Cape Cod Times that members of her group responded Saturday night to a report of stranded dolphins at Thumpertown Beach in Eastham.

The IFAW group says on their arrival, the tide had come in and the animals had managed to free themselves back into the waters.

IFAW spokeswoman, Kerry Branon, said all 39 dolphins appear to be safe for the time being.

She believes the dolphins are part of a larger pod that includes up to 100 dolphins.

There have been a series of dolphin strandings on the Cape Cod over the past few weeks.

Eight dolphins stranded in Eastham on Aug. 18 and one died. Two days later, six dolphins became stranded in Wellfleet's town harbor and two died.

While not confirmed as related to the dolphin strandings, there have also been numerous reports of sharks off Cape Cod.

In July, a man was bitten on his legs by a great white shark while swimming off Ballston Beach in Truro.

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