With summer drawing closer, sharks are on the move. But rather than trips to tropical destinations, they’re on their way north. The swim to Canada is a long one, though, and pitstops are frequent. With that in mind, it’s not at all surprising that a gigantic great white shark named Breton recently appeared in the Outer Banks.
There are an estimated 3,500 great white sharks in the world’s oceans, and the vast majority don’t have names. Breton is special, however, as he’s one of the sharks tagged and tracked by OCEARCH, a nonprofit marine research group.
Stretching 13 feet in length and weighing in at an eye-popping 1,437 pounds, Breton is a true behemoth of the sea. He was tagged by researchers back in September 2020, when they first encountered him off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.
Now, OCEARCH receives an alert every time the great white shark breaks the ocean’s surface. And thanks to their open-source data about shark migration, we’re free to watch his movements as well!
Breton last broke the surface just before 8 PM on Friday, May 12. At the time, he was just off the coast of Nags Head, a beach town on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Back in late March, great white sharks Simon and Jekyll were keeping Breton company in NC. In the last few weeks, however, both have ventured north, with Simon’s last ping occurring near Pennsylvania and Jekyll’s off the coast of Long Island.
Breton will no doubt follow his fellow great whites soon enough, but sharks migrate on their own time. As long as there are plenty of fish to eat, he’s in no hurry.
Breton the great white shark swam the circumference of Earth in under 3 years
With a moderate amount of time set aside for sightseeing, a human can sail around the world in about 3 years. And, well, a great white shark can too!
While they don’t literally swim around the world, the trip from Canada to Florida is no small venture for a great white. Since receiving his tag in late 2020, Breton has logged close to 24,800 miles in the Atlantic. For reference, the circumference of Earth is 24,902 miles.
Those miles include destinations as far north as the Honguedo Strait in Quebec and as far south as the Turks and Caicos Islands. The great white shark’s favorite destination, however, is the Carolinas.
He’s not alone in his love for the sunny shores of the Carolinas, though. Great white sharks often congregate in North and South Carolina in early spring.
There’s no definitive proof, but OCEARCH believes this is because the Carolinas are a breeding ground and nursery for great whites.
White sharks not only mate but raise their pups in bays or shallow areas as well. There, their babies have plenty of food and are protected from predators prowling the open water. As an adult great white, Breton is no doubt the father of at least a few young sharks roaming the sea!