Two sharks found dead on Cape Cod shoreline on Wednesday might have been killed by the cold temperatures experienced by the northeast region in recent days.
Heavy snowfall, negative temperatures, icy winds… The United States and Canada have been experiencing unprecedented cold temperatures for several days. It is explained by the presence of an anticyclonic ridge which settled from the Pacific to the west of Canada according to meteorologists. In New England, the cold seemed to be responsible for the death of two thresher sharks found dead on shoreline of Cape Cod in recent days, according to scientists.
According to marine scientist Greg Skormal, reported by the New York Times, the cold may have frozen the gills of the sharks, preventing them from breathing normally. “If you have cold air, it will freeze their gills very quickly,” he said. “These branchial filaments are very sensitive and it would not take long for the shark to die.”
According to Skomal, the two male sharks, found in Cape Cod were thresher sharks. Thresher sharks are on average about 12 feet long and prefer the open ocean where they pray on schools of small fish by whipping them with their long tails. “They started heading south as the northern waters cooled down, but were trapped by Cape Cod, like some dolphins before them and were pushed onto the beach, where the cold may have precipitated their death,” he said, quoted by the NYT
Scientists at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy took tissue samples and removed organs from the sharks to examine.