Frozen sharks wash up on Cape Cod beaches as winter storm hits US East Coast

The thresher sharks which washed up in Cape Cod were too frozen for researchers to perform immediate post-mortem examinations.

Four frozen sharks have washed up in Massachusetts amid a winter storm which has brought heavy snow and freezing temperatures to the US East Coast.

The dead male thresher sharks found on beaches in Cape Cod were all too frozen for researchers to perform immediate post-mortem examinations.

It has emerged that the latest shark carcass was discovered on New Year’s Eve in an ice pack near Wellfeet, towards the northern hook of Cape Cod.

Rough conditions prevented researchers from recovering the body, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) programme director Michelle Wcisel told the Cape Code Times.

The AWSC had to take the sharks to the NOAA Fisheries Service to thaw out. Pic: AWSC

The AWSC had to take the sharks to the NOAA Fisheries Service to thaw out. 

Another frozen shark, measuring 14ft, was found on 29 December in Brewster and had to be thawed at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries service before researchers could examine it.

The discovery came two days after a pair of male thresher sharks were found stranded on a nearby beach.

Authorities believe all four sharks died from cold shock.

Researchers believe the sharks became stuck inside the hook of Cape Cod. Pic: Google Maps

Researchers believe the sharks became stuck inside the hook of Cape Cod

Thresher sharks, a solitary species which breach like dolphins, are commonly spotted offshore in Cape Cod during the summer.

They usually migrate to warmer waters in the south, but the AWSC says some may have got caught in the hook of Cape Cod before being trapped in the peninsula’s bay.

Scientists believe threshers are impaired when exposed to waters below 44F (6.7C).

Cape Cod Bay’s water temperature fell to 2.6C on Thursday, according to the NOAA.

Thresher sharks are easily distinguishable by their extremely long caudal fin. Pic: AWSC

Thresher sharks are easily distinguishable by their extremely long caudal fin.

New England, which includes Massachusetts, experienced a severe cold snap in December which developed into a bomb cyclone this week.

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