A 255-pound ‘apex predator’ mako shark is hunting the waters off NC’s Outer Banks

A 255-pound ‘apex predator’ mako shark is hunting the waters off NC’s Outer Banks

CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - A 255-pound mako shark that is nearly 7-feet long has spent the past week off the North Carolina coast, prowling along the Outer Banks. Makos are defined as apex predators and can get up to 1,000 pounds.

Tracking by researchers last showed the shark off Nags Head in the Outer Banks on Wednesday. It first pinged off North Carolina in mid December, and has progressively moved closer to the shore, according to OCEARCH.

The shark, a male named Yinzer, was tagged on Nov. 3 by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. It has traveled nearly 4,000 miles since being tagged off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

It is 6-feet, 10-inches long and could grow to 12 feet and 1,000 pounds, according to the University of Florida. Makos are considered the fastest of the sharks, clocking speeds of 20 mph. It is currently listed as a vulnerable species due to its popularity with sport fishing, says the university.

Makos are aggressive and have the ability to jump out of the water.

"The shortfin mako's power, aggressiveness, teeth and great speed, make it a danger to human," says the Florida Museum of Natural History. "Shortfin makos have been blamed for a number of nonfatal and fatal attacks on humans. Divers who have encountered shortfin makos note that they swim in a figure eight pattern and approach with mouths open prior to an attack. Shortfin makos frequently damage boats and injure fishers after being hooked."

OCEARCH is a recognized world leader in generating scientific data related to tracking and biological studies of keystone marine species such as great white and tiger sharks, in conjunction with conservation outreach and education at a measurable global scale.