20-Year-Old Great White Shark Spotted Near Jersey Shore

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Courtesy of Niall Kennedy (Flickr CC0)

A great white shark has been seen swimming near the Jersey Shore since April 28, at 10:30 p.m. The 20-year-old, 12-foot, 4-inch long, 998-pound shark was first tagged near Nova Scotia in October 2019 and has been tracked as one of the largest sea animals alive.

The great white shark was named Ironbound after West Ironbound Island near Nova Scotia. This is where the shark was originally tagged and has clocked 13,000 miles since then. It is likely Ironbound is swimming north toward Canada to feed as mating season is over, according to Bob Hueter, the chief scientist at OCEARCH, a marine life research group.

Ironbound was tagged with an electronic device that pings a computer whenever his dorsal fin breaks the surface of the ocean. On April 25, Ironbound was pinged off the coast of North Carolina. The migration of the great white shark “is an adaptation, of course, to seasonal temperature fluxes, to where the food is,” according to Hueter. Great whites in the Atlantic Ocean also make the same migration as they spend the winter months in southern waters in the Gulf of Mexico and swim north to Canada in the summer months.

It appears Ironbound has made a U-turn. The great white shark pierced the surface in North Carolina on May 10 at 1 p.m. Researchers who are following the large ocean animal believe Ironbound encountered colder waters and retreated south, according to USA Today. OCEARCH researcher, Chris Fischer, stated that when great whites migrate and find colder waters they turn around believing it is too early to migrate and return to warmer waters.

The energy to keep warm cannot exceed the energy obtained from feeding to survive. Ironbound is looking for warm oceanic waters to feed in so he can gain weight for the season. Heuter said most sharks do not migrate until late May but Ironbound looks like he has been through some wars and knows his way around the ocean. The shark knows what he is doing migrating early, according to Hueter.

The OCEARCH team has tagged great white sharks as long as 17.5 feet and weighing 4,000 pounds.

Written by Jeanette Vietti


Patriot-News: ‘Ironbound,’ a 1,000-pound great white shark has been tracked swimming near the Jersey Shore
The Sun: MEGA SHARK Dramatic pictures show one of the world’s biggest great white sharks dubbed ‘Ironbound’ as beast stalks US coast; by Katie Davis
USA TODAY: Shark tale: A great white shark is cruising the Atlantic Ocean from New Jersey to the Carolinas; by Mike Snider

Featured Image Courtesy of Niall Kennedy‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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