'Shark brochure' has everyone upset

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Cape Cod Shark Safety Brochure Putting People On Edge

Apparently sharks are becoming a serious problem off the coast of Cape Cod. Or at least a new brochure is making them out to be. And many are now wondering if the brochures are doing more harm than good.

"Part of the concern is the cover. People are taking a problem with it. Among other things, people say it looks right out of the movie Jaws. The pamphlets also include tips for beach goers, including not to swim in deep waters."

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More than 400,000 of these shark safety brochures were distributed to educate tourists and residents. The brochures were created as part of a grant program called The Community Innovation Challenge.

Tony Guthrie, the president of the Harwich Chamber of Commerce on Cape Cod, spoke with WFXT about these brochures.

''I just felt like it could have been conveyed in a different way that would be more appealing to the general public instead of being so scary, so to speak."

The brochures were released in part because the number of shark sightings in Cape Cod has increased over the past few years.

Cape Cod Shark Hunters revealed nine different sharks were spotted in November and December of 2013. This is significant because it wasn't believed the sharks could survive in the cold water typically found during these months.

And last year WBZ-TV reported scientists realized Cape Cod might be a breeding ground for sharks.

The president and CEO of the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies told the Cape Cod Times he thinks the brochures contain useful information but he says the line that reads

"The only way to completely rule out a close encounter with a shark is to stay on the shore" should have been scratched, because it put too many people on edge.

A writer for WFXT notes that a person's chances of getting bitten by a shark are 1 in 12 million. This means it's more likely that a person will be struck by lightning. In fact, only one person has reported being bitten by a shark in Massachusetts in the past 76 years.

Another member of the Harwich Chamber of Commerce said his city will only be using these brochures as a resource for people who have questions about sharks. The brochures have already been distributed among people in several spots on the Cape.

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