Dead Shark Carcass on Beach Makes Rhode Island Officials Keep People Out of the Water

Why was the beach shut down? Was there a theory that the water is contaminated?

Here’s a little more from the report:

Marine officials confirmed that the shark was in fact a Great White and weighs about 1700 lbs.

The state’s shark expert Greg Skomal said he was rather surprised to find the the carcass was that of a Great White.

“We’re thinking it’s a basking shark at first because they do wash ashore quite a bit,” he said. “But this is clearly a White Shark and it catches us a little off guard because we don’t typically see them up on the beach.”

No surprise; the discovery caught neighbors off guard as well.

“We thought it was limited to areas that had seals so we’re surprised it’s here,” said Karen Green, Westport homeowner

[…]

The neighboring South Shore Goosewing Beach in Little Compton was closed as a result of the find.

It’s unclear how the shark died. Marine experts will try to determine the cause. They will also dissect the carcass for scientific research.

“It will be a formal dissection,” Skomal said. “We’ll be looking at its reproductive system, taking sections of its backbone, [and] looking at its stomach. [We are] trying to learn about its biology from various aspects.”

So … why was the water closed? People were clearly allowed to siddle up to a carcass which may or may not be contaminated but they weren’t allowed in the water? Overcautious government functionaries or is something odd going on?

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