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September 7th, 2009
08:13 AM ET

Great white sharks tagged off Massachusetts

(CNN) - The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries has tagged two great white sharks off Cape Cod in an area where shark sightings have been reported, state officials said Sunday.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A great white shark is tagged Saturday off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Shark sightings closed nearby beaches."]

The first tagging Saturday marked the first time a great white shark had been successfully tagged in the Atlantic Ocean, the division said in a statement. A second shark was tagged Saturday afternoon, officials said.

The taggings took place in the waters near Chatham, Massachusetts, two days after Greg Skomal, shark expert for the Division of Marine Fisheries, reported as many as five large sharks were seen near Monomoy Island, a National Wildlife Refuge off the southern elbow of Cape Cod. The island is about a mile away from Chatham's Lighthouse Beach, a public swimming area.

Chatham's beaches were closed to swimmers after the sightings, Skomal said. CNN affiliate WCVB reported that all of Chatham's east-facing beaches were closed after three sharks came within 75 yards of the coastline.

The beaches will be off-limits to swimmers until the middle of the week, officials told WCVB.

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