HomeOutdoorsNewsYoung Shark Student Discovers 12-Footer Washed Up on Beach

Young Shark Student Discovers 12-Footer Washed Up on Beach

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by Mindy Schauer/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

A young thresher shark was found washed up on the beach by a young girl who studies shark as part of her membership with the Gills Club.

10-year-old Maisie Callahan, a member of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Gills Club, has been passionate about sharks for quite some time. The ‘shark student’ encountered a dead one earlier this month on Cape Cod while walking between Point of Rocks and Ellis Landing.

Maisie immediately ran home after seeing the shark, not because she was frightened, but because she wanted to retrieve her tape measure.

The curious Maisie was desperate to know just how big the shark was. Once she got back, she measured it and found that it was 12 feet long. Maisie claims that she’s never seen one that big before.

“I’ve lived here for a really long time and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Maisie told CAI, a local outlet. “I’ve done some dissections of dogfish—smaller sharks—but I’ve never been very up-close with a 12-foot thresher shark before.”

‘Gills Club’ Helps Foster Interest in Sharks, Marine Biology for Local Girls

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, these thresher sharks can grow up to 20 feet in length.

The young girl has been a student of the species for over five years. The young girl joined the Gills Club at just five years old. Her fascination with the animals has blossomed in the last few years. CAI even reports that some of her birthday parties have “incorporated dissections with friends.”

The Gills Club is a STEM-oriented program that aims to empower young females. Based out of Chatham, it connects girls with women scientists and helps get young girls interested in science.

“I like that we don’t know a lot about sharks,” Maisie said. “They’re kind of a mystery. Researchers learn all these new, cool facts every day, and it’s just very interesting to me.”

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, who runs the Gills Club, just finished up their busy season, according to CAI. The group reportedly tagged 31 great white sharks this year. That brings their total number to 277 in the past decade.

CAI asked Maisie if she’s figured out what she wants to do for the rest of her life. She then replied with an interesting answer. While she realizes she has tons of time to decide what she wants to do, she knows her passion may always be calling.

“I’m still 10, so I don’t know,” she said. “But I’ll probably go into marine biology.”

According to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s website, the animals were first protected in federal waters in 1997. The organization, based out of Massachusetts, said that the species became protected in state waters in 2005.