North Carolina

Great white sharks found lurking off NC coast after swimming 1,000 miles from Canada

OCEARCH tags great white shark Jefferson off Nova Scotia

Great white sharks spending time in far northern waters near Nova Scotia are beginning to migrate south, and one — Jefferson the shark — has already made it to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
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Great white sharks spending time in far northern waters near Nova Scotia are beginning to migrate south, and one — Jefferson the shark — has already made it to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Researchers tagged Nova off the coast of Nova Scotia on Sept. 21. He’s more than 11 feet long and weighs almost 1,200 lbs. Cabot is smaller, 9 feet, 8 inches long and weighs about 530 pounds, according to OCEARCH, which tags and tracks great white sharks.

Cabot was tagged on Oct. 14, also off Nova Scotia. The two great white sharks have traveled more than 1,000 miles since researchers found them in Canadian waters, and now the two sharks are off the North Carolina coast.

Nova’s satellite tracker “pinged” Monday off the coast of Wrightsville Beach. Cabot surfaced Tuesday at about 4 a.m. off the Outer Banks near Rodanth, North Carolina.

OCEARCH researchers use satellite tags to track sharks, turtles and other sea creatures as they swim around the world. When they surface, the tracker “pings” a satellite to give their location.

Both great whites even have their own Twitter accounts. On Monday, Nova’s account tweeted Tuesday, “Sorry to keep you guys waiting so long for a new ping. I was a little shy about admitting that I left Nova Scotia, especially since I’m named after it an all. But don’t worry, I’ll be back. All sharks like me gotta migrate. I’m near Wilmington, NC right now.”

Cabot has surfaced a number of times since he was tagged, giving researchers a better view of his travels over the past month.

“Cabot is named after explorer John Cabot who made the first New World exploration for the English in 1497,” the Ashbury Park Press reported last week when he pinged off that city in New Jersey.

The OCEARCH team came under some criticism when it was tagging sharks off Nova Scotia this fall, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

OCEARCH researchers were chumming the water too close to recreational areas to attract sharks, according to the CBC. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Nova Scotia asked the researchers to move further from shore, the CBC reports.

Charles Duncan: 843-626-0301, @duncanreporting
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