Experts puzzled as 10-foot great white shark stays a month in one spot off East Coast

Experts puzzled as 10-foot great white shark stays a month in one spot off East Coast
This shark has been hanging out off the Virginia-North Carolina border for a month, OCEARCH says. What is it doing? (Source: R. Snow | OCEARCH)

NORTH CAROLINA (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - Great white sharks are known for racing past the Mid-Atlantic states to get someplace else, so experts pay attention in rare cases when one not only stops, but stays put.

That’s happening now along the Virginia-North Carolina border with a 10-foot, 3-inch male tracked by OCEARCH.

“It’s interesting watching white shark Shaw since unlike other sharks on the Tracker, he has been hanging out off the Virginia coast for over a month,” OCEARCH posted Tuesday on Facebook.

“The other sharks breezed past, only making a quick stop on their way south. What do you suppose he likes so much there?”

OCEARCH offered no ideas in the post. Data collected by OCEARCH suggests young sharks will stay close to their nursery in the first two years of life. However, Shaw is categorized as a “sub-adult,” not a juvenile.

Shaw weighs 564 pounds and was tagged with a tracker in October, off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Tracking shows he got as far as Manteo, N.C., on Oct. 28, then made a U-turn and has since stayed between the mouth of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay and Corolla on the Outer Banks.

He last appeared on the satellite at 8:13 p.m. Tuesday, just north of Corolla. To show up on satellite, a shark must rise high enough for its tracker to break the surface of the water.

OCEARCH is tracking white sharks as part of an extensive research effort to find out where they migrate, mate and give birth off the East Coast. The trackers have revealed that white sharks use the coast as a highway, from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico.

OCEARCH founder Chris Fischer told the McClatchy news group this month that they have discovered two spots in the North Atlantic where sharks are mating in the fall and early winter.

It’s interesting watching white shark Shaw since unlike other sharks on the Tracker, he has been hanging out off the...

Posted by OCEARCH on Tuesday, December 3, 2019