Photo: Ocearch Shark Tracker/Courtesy
A huge great white shark, measuring more than 13 feet and weighing 1,500 pounds, has been tracked off the coast of South Carolina..
The shark, known as a Breton, was tracked by the ocean research organization Ocearch and was lurking about 60 miles off the coast of Myrtle Beach on Aug. 2.
Ocearch tags great white sharks to learn more about the species and their behavior: The tagged sharks “ping” the tracker as their dorsal fins approach the water’s surface, according to the organization.
Before this “Ping”, Breton had spent June and July off the coast of Florida. In this image, you can see the “times the shark has pinged”, and this is just the map that the organization makes known about the route of these fish:
Breton is part of the North Atlantic great white shark population that swims along the east coast of the United States and Canada. Sharks often migrate along the route, spending summers in the north and winters in the south.
However, Breton has stayed in the South for much longer than usual this year and, according to Ocearch, this is the longest time one of their tagged Great Whites has spent in the South.
Ocearch said on Facebook that Breton is “something of an anomaly.”
“While the rest of our white sharks are in the northeastern United States or Atlantic Canada, Breton remains in the warm waters of the southeastern part of the country; this is the last time we have seen one of our great white sharks stay that far south in the north western Atlantic,” Ocearch said in his social media post.
“We typically notice our great white sharks beginning their northward migration from mid-May through June. How Breton is coping with the warm water temperatures or whether he finally started his migratory journey north to Atlantic Canada are some of the questions our science team is currently asking. We will be watching Breton’s movements closely over the next few weeks.”
Most of the great white sharks tagged by Ocearch are currently found off the coast of Canada; in fact, Breton’s “ping” in South Carolina may indicate that it is finally beginning its journey north for the winter.
South Carolina has recorded 107 unprovoked shark attacks since 1837, according to the Florida Museum’s shark attack archive. It ranks fourth in the state for the most recorded shark attacks.
However, shark attacks remain rare, and although Breton lurks close to shore, their presence poses little danger to humans.
The massive male shark was first tagged by the research group in September 2020. When Ocearch tags a shark, the researchers use a hydraulic rig to lift it out of the water, where they then attach a tracker to their bodies.
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