A growing population of seals off Cape Cod and rising water temperatures are combining to create conditions that could attract great white sharks to Cape beaches this summer, state and local authorities said yesterday.
The forecast followed Saturday’s sighting of a juvenile great white shark in Stellwagen Bank, between Cape Ann and Cape Cod. Still, officials said yesterday, there is no cause for alarm.
“We don’t believe it’s a threat to public safety,’’ Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles said. “People shouldn’t be saying they want to avoid the beaches or anything like that.’’
About a dozen shark species swim through New England waters every year, although great whites — made famous in the movie “Jaws’’ — garner the most attention.
The sharks can grow to 20 feet long and weigh in at more than 4,000 pounds, but, at odds with their Hollywood reputation, they are not usually man-eaters. Instead, the sharks tend to go mainly after seals and feed on dead whales.