Concerns over the brochure underscore the delicate balance science, business and public safety officials look to strike on the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" issue of informing the public about the threat of sharks that have been drawn to hunt the area's booming seal population.

The 415,000 brochures were printed with $22,500 from the state Community Innovation Challenge program, which granted the money last year to a group of Cape towns to raise awareness of sharks and educate the public about safe practices in the event of a sighting. Working with the state Department of Transportation, the consortium spent another $15,000 in grant funding on signs alerting beachgoers to the presence of sharks and the threat of rip currents, among other dangers. The signs were placed at beaches on the Outer Cape.