CAPE COD, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- It seems a little early, but officials on the Cape are already warning people about sharks.
A new pamphlet is being distributed and it has some people wondering if it might do more harm than good. It's part of The Community Innovation Challenge, a program aimed at raising awareness of sharks and educating the public about what they should do if they spot one. Scientists and public safety officials want to raise awareness about the growing shark population and the danger it poses. More than 400,000 were printed to educate residents and visitors.
Tony Guthrie is the president of the Harwich Chamber of Commerce and a longtime Cape realtor.
“It's become the butt of jokes in a lot of respects,” Guthrie said.
However, he believes the brochure contains accurate and important information, but he worries it could scare tourists away.
“I just felt like it could have been conveyed in a different way that was more appealing to the general public instead of being so scary... So to speak,” he said.
Harbormasters and community leaders in 10 lower Cape towns from Yarmouth to Provincetown were awarded $22,000 in grant money to produce the brochures.
The growing seal population has led to a growing shark population. During the summer of 2012 a tourist swimming at Ballston Beach was the first shark bite victim in Massachusetts, in 76 years.
Cape visitor Benjamin Dejesus said, “The people who put out the flyers are helping the individuals who are visiting giving them awareness of what's going on.”
The brochure also says to avoid wearing shiny jewelry in the water so the sharks don't mistake you for a fish.
The odds of getting attacked by a shark are slim, about 1 in 12 million. There's a better chance of getting stuck by lightning. Still, experts say if the trend continues on the Cape, it's only a matter of time before another attack.
The pamphlets are already available at a number of spots on the lower Cape.?