On a chilly October afternoon on Marconi Beach in Wellfleet, a family visiting from Germany looks for seals just off the shore. Father and husband Bernd Matzner, from Berlin, is a recreational diver who has dived all around the world. But he has no ambitions to do any dives on the Cape, because he says he prefers to stay away from great white sharks.

Like many others who frequent Cape Cod, Matzner says he's been thinking about what towns there can do to mitigate the risk of sharks.

"I guess if there are safe areas that can be protected by nets or something like that," Matzner says, but, he concedes, "I have no idea."

How to prevent shark attacks is a question many public safety and tourism officials on Cape Cod have been trying to answer since a 26-year old Revere man was fatally bitten by a shark off Wellfleet last summer. Arthur Medici died after the attack at a hospital, marking the state's first deadly attack in more than 80 years and drawing attention to increased great white sightings.It’s a question researchers at Woods Hole Group, an environmental consulting organization, have also examined.

A study issued Wednesday by the group concludes that there are some steps Cape Cod communities can take to improve safety. And, according to the study, the nets Matzner mentions are among the most difficult — and thus, unlikely — approaches to implement.

"With the very energy-driven, dynamic coast environment we have, they’d be very costly and highly disruptive to deploy,” says Brian Carlstrom, superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore, one of the groups that commissioned the study.

He says barriers would also be harmful to other marine life. Other approaches study authors dismiss for Cape Cod include: seal culling and seal contraception.

The study suggests that instead, Cape Cod can take precautions on the shore, including posting more lifeguards to watch for sharks, providing people with stop-the-bleed training and enhancing communication at beaches.That’s a top priority for Truro Town Manager Rae Anne Palmer.

“The next thing is — if we can get it done — is to improve cellular service at the beaches," she says. "I think that’s one of our biggest challenges.”

Palmer says the purpose of the study was to determine which solutions are feasible for the region and which aren’t.

"If we're going to do something, we really need to know it's going to work," she says.

The report also recommends continuing a strategy already in place on Cape Cod, which is aggressive public awareness efforts.

On the beach, visiting Matzner takes note of all the warnings.

“There are quite obvious signs here at Marconi Beach that alert visitors to the dangers," he says, nodding toward several infographic signs and posters about sharks on the steps to the beach. "I think that it’s fair that this is actually a place to have a nice look at the beach and stay away from the dangers.”

No one's suggesting staying out of the water altogether, but the report concludes that there is no "silver bullet" that will 100% ensure safety, should you venture in.

public forum with the scientists who authored the study will be held at Nauset Regional High School on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m.

This story comes from the New England News Collaborative, eight public media companies, including The Public's Radio, coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.