“Jaws” Fever is Back

“Y’all know me. Know how I earn a livin’. I’ll catch this bird for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Bad fish. Not like going down the pond chasin’ bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow you whole. Little shakin’, little tenderizin’, an’ down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that’ll bring back your tourists, put all your businesses on a payin’ basis.”

This famous quote comes from the character Quint played by Robert Shaw in the 1975 blockbuster Jaws. The film saw an east coast tourist town plagued by a great white shark on a killing spree. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Jaws was an overnight summer sensation with people waiting in lines all over the country to see Jaws terrorize the fictional town of Amity Island. The film’s success spawned shark related merchandise sales with everything Jaws related from comics to key chains.

Today, the shark craze that swept the country in the summer of 1975 has resurfaced in small towns exactly like Amity Island. Due to a surge in shark sightings off the coast of Massachusetts, many small towns are having their economy boosted in shark related merchandise and sight seeing visitors.

This boost in industry was the opposite goal of the towns people in Amity Island; the shark fever is bringing the people into town, not kicking them out. People are heading to the Massachusetts coast in order to enjoy the beaches, sun, and potentially see their own Jaws in the waters of the Atlantic.


Merchandise, sight seeing tours, binoculars, food, and lodging have all provided an economic boost even during the high tourist season for places like Chatham Gables, MA. Scientist have stated that the surge is due to the food resources in the local waters and weather climate that is seeing a boost in great white shark sightings after having a low population in past years.

Jaws is one of the greatest summer blockbusters and a forerunner in 4th of July related films. But the social fear and wonder of great white sharks that Jaws created, still resonates today in places like Chatham Gables. While the people of Amity Island feared the presence of a monster from the deep, towns on the Massachusetts coast are embracing them with welcome arms.

If you want to see what all the shark fuss is about, stay at a local bed and breakfast like Chatham Gables Inn, just a stone’s throw from the ocean.

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