GPS Trackers Reveal Scary Number of Great White Sharks Navigating Carolina Shores

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

With winter weather rapidly approaching, Great White sharks occupying regions of the Atlantic Ocean are on the move. More interestingly though, GPS trackers placed on sharks along the United States’ east coast have been honing in on the Carolinas. So far, experts recorded more than 25 Great Whites in total swimming close to the states’ shorelines.

According to Newsweek though, this is not unusual. Speaking about the predators’ migrations along the east coast, Yannis Papastamatiou, a shark expert at Florida International University, said, “White sharks are coastal this time of year and can come quite close to the shore.

Papastamatiou explained, “White sharks along the eastern coast of the U.S. perform seasonal migrations, where they tend to move south during the fall and winter.”

As such, it makes sense that the Great White sharks’ GPS trackers are pinging near North and South Carolina.

Per the news outlet, the GPS trackers marine conservation group Ocearch installed the trackers. These trackers have been following a number of sharks in the North Atlantic for more than a decade. The conservation group aims to use information gleaned from the trackers to aid in future conservation strategies.

More than anything though, Papastamatiou said the trackers have helped conservationists broadly. He emphasized that they are definitely navigating regions along the U.S. coast, and traveling to different regions depending on the time of the year.

“We have certainly gotten much better at knowing they are there, due to a large number of sharks being tracked,” Papastamatiou said. However, he also emphasized that with the help of modern technology, namely drones, the public has also been extremely helpful in recording shark sightings.

Scientists Addled After Great White Shark Washes Ashore in Nova Scotia

Many Great Whites have already begun making the long trek south to warmer waters. But, scientists have emphasized that there are still a number of the apex predators perusing the waters as far north as Newfoundland this time of year. And, recently, one of them happened to wash ashore in Nova Scotia. Large marine animals, and even some species of sharks, wash ashore on occasion. However, it’s extremely rare for a Great White. And it’s that fact that has scientists and conservationists in Sydney, Nova Scotia perplexed.

Locals that found the shark, which washed up at the bottom of a cliff, alerted the Marine Animal Response Society. Afterward, the creature was taken in for a necropsy to determine its cause of death. Sadly, many shark deaths are the result of discarded fishing gear. This time, though, experts found that that was not the case.

As of now, scientists have not revealed a solid cause of death. Marine biologist Vanessa Pirotta did share, however, what some other causes might be.

“I’m glad a necropsy was done,” she said. “That ruled out fishing gear entanglement and vessel strike. It could be other causes such as swimming [or] hunting too close to the shore or something else that could be discovered from the necropsy such as an internal health problem.”