Seal Apparently Killed by Great White Shark Washed up on Maine Beach Just Before Fatal Attack on Woman

Just days before a woman died in a fatal shark attack off the coast of Maine, a seal that appeared to have been bitten by a great white washed up on a beach nearby.

The Sulikowski Shark and Fish Conservation Lab posted images of the carcass to its Facebook page on Monday, saying the bite radius was 19 inches. It said that in collaboration with its partners, it had detected white sharks in the south of Maine that had been tagged off the coast of Cape Cod.

Warning-graphic content! Thanks to Remy Mcguire for passing these photos along. This seal was found on the beach in...

Posted by Sulikowski Shark and Fish Conservation Lab on Sunday, July 26, 2020

OCEARCH, an organization that tracks marine life via satellite technology—including many great whites—also said it had tracked the species in this region.

"OCEARCH is saddened to learn about the death of a woman today in Maine from what appears to be a shark bite," it said in a statement. "This tragedy highlights the need to ramp up efforts to learn more about sharks' habitats and movements along the Northeast Coast. OCEARCH has tracked white sharks to the Gulf of Maine before, but more collaboration in key locations such as Massachusetts and Maine will allow us to inform local communities in a more comprehensive way."

The Maine Department of Marine Resources said a woman was killed while swimming near Bailey Island. An onlooker said she was "injured in what appeared to be a shark attack." Kayakers were able to bring her to shore and while she was treated by emergency medical responders, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Until further notice, swimmers and boaters are urged to use caution near Bailey Island and to avoid swimming near schooling fish or seals," the statement said.

The dead seal was found on a beach in Phippsburg, Maine. James Sulikowski, from the Sulikowski Shark and Fish Conservation Lab, who studies sharks in Maine, said whatever killed the seal was "big."

"Nineteen inches is a good size," Sulikowski told McClatchy News, referring to the bite mark radius. "Minimum 11 feet. Probably bigger. The seal probably escaped the initial predation event then succumbed to the wounds afterwards."

There is nothing to indicate the attack on the seal was the same animal as the shark that is believed to have killed the woman. Because no teeth were found in the seal's wounds, the species that attacked it cannot be confirmed.

Great whites are known to visit the waters around the state at this time of year, taking advantage of the seals in the area. Sulikowski told WGME their numbers are increasing. "As the seal population increases, as the competition down near the Cape gets stiffer for food sources, you're going to have more of these sharks move up, as that sort of happens, Maine's got to be prepared," he was quoted as saying.

great white
Stock image of a great white shark. Shark researcher says teeth marks on a seal found dead on a Maine beach suggest it was probably killed by a great white. iStock