Nearly a year ago, near Nantucket, George was tagged and weighed, and he has just shown up again swimming around the Everglades National Park.
What makes this story so interesting is George is a 9 foot long, 700 pound great white shark.
Although they are not tropical, great white sharks sometimes head south in the winter to warmer waters. They may also be following prey, including baleen whales, false killer whales who give birth to their young in warmer waters during the winter. Last year, 81 false killer whales stranded themselves and died just north of where George was tracked. Courtesy of Ocearch
George is one of nearly 30 great white sharks that are being tracked by Ocearch to better understand the habits of this iconic fish. Ocearch started tagging great white sharks in 012, with the hopes to eventually track 60 individuals off the east coast of the U.S.A and Canada to greatly improve on the limited information we know of these animals. Most of that information has been gathered through recreational and commercial fishing.
The nonprofit Ocearch first tagged the great white shark, George, off Nantucket in October 2016 when he weighed just over 700 pounds and was nearly 10 feet long. Osearch chief science advisor and Mote senior scientist Bob Hueter estimates he’s probably grown closer to a 1,000 pounds now.
Courtesy of Ocearch
It is likely that George is also likely far bigger now after a year, now weighing closer to 1,000 pounds.
It is rare to see these sharks in such shallow water. The migration of these animals is unknown with many of them traveling around the world and others spending large amounts of time in the same waters.
Tracking these animals is quite difficult as the animals need to surface for the satellites that track them to pick up their signal. This can lead to huge gaps in data if the animal doesn't surface much over time. So even though scientist are getting data of where these animals are migrating to, there are holes in the data of how fast they where moving, if they made any detours or if they spend long periods of time.
Conservation efforts have helped the sharks in the northwest Atlantic in the recent years, however conservationists still consider them to be vulnerable. They are threatened by trophy hunting, the shark fin trade and the commercial fishing industry. The information that has been gathered by Ocearch tracking will help scientist to be able to better protect the waters that these sharks spend time in.
the open-sourced research and tracking has gained a social media focus and you can follow them on twitter such as @OCEARCH
Header photo; A satellite tag attached to George’s dorsal fin pings every time the shark surfaces, so tracking him depends largely on how often he surfaces. About 5 p.m. Sunday, the satellite picked him up off Highland Beach in Everglades National Park. Courtesy of Ocearch