Cape Cod Forms Shark Information Network

capecod.com— An informal meeting hosted by the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce last week to discuss the impact of sharks on the region has led to the formation a Shark Information Network.

The roundtable discussion, which featured Cape Cod science and business leaders, and representatives from town, state, county and federal agencies, produced several different perspectives and ideas for the region to continue adapting to the increasing seal and shark populations.

“We sat around the table and had a very thoughtful conversation about what’s been going on, there has been a lot that has been happening, but what is missing and what can be done better?’ said Wendy Northcross, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO.

“And it came down to information and sharing information could probably be done better.”

Northcross said the goal is to have a more consistent and broad message.

“There is some good information now. There is signage, brochures and websites, but some of it seems disconnected from the other,” Northcross said. “And there seems to be the need to use much more of a digital platform on top of all the regular media channels.”

Northcross said the network will use a variety of tactics to keep residents and visitors informed when it comes to shark safety.

A plan is being developed by a subcommittee to present to state officials for extra funding.

“We’ll be putting together a whole communications strategy, whether its public relations, training videos, new digital media, perhaps a new logo that will grab attention so people will pay attention to how to stay safe at the beaches,” Northcross said. “All of that will be enhanced and improved.”

Northcross expects the work to be completed through a combination of public and private funding.

Attendees also agreed to continue to work together to more closely connect communication channels.

“There is a small working group now to put the nuts and bolts of that in place and then certainly grow that network,” Northcross said.

Cape and Islands State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) said the meeting advanced ongoing communication and public education plans to promote the safety of everyone who enjoys Cape Cod’s beaches.

“In advance of the upcoming summer season, it is vital that we all provide consistent, science-based information for all who visit our shores,” Cyr said. “I am encouraged by the agreement to work together.”

Kudos to the Cape Cod Chamber for facilitating these conversations amongst differing perspectives and various backgrounds. According to some on facebook, business-owners aren’t allowed to facilitate or participate in discussions involving the community or environment. What do you think?