Cluster of great white sharks off the coast stirring up interest

Hilton was tagged by Ocearch in 2017. [Ocearch.org photo]

Editor: It should be noted, there are 13 other species of sharks with populations numbering in the thousands that swim and feed every day in North Carolina’s sounds and the Atlantic Ocean.

A cluster of Great White sharks off the coast this week piqued the interest of shark trackers at OCEARCH, which tagged all of the visiting sharks on an expedition to Nova Scotia in the fall of 2018.

OCEARCH, a nonprofit organization, is the orchestrator of Global Shark Tracker – an interactive program which tags, researches, and follows sharks all around the world.

The group of great whites first came to light via a Tuesday social media post by OCEARCH, which noted that the four sharks – three males and a female – were all hanging out just off the coast of Hatteras Island. “What’s interesting is that all of the sharks, Cabot, Jane, Jefferson, and Hal, were all tagged during our Nova Scotia Expedition last fall,” the statement read.

The sharks ranged in size from 9-feet, 8-inches to 12-feet, 7-inches, with the largest clocking in at 1,420 pounds.

Jane is 10 feet and 521 pounds and is the first female white shark ever SPOT tagged in Canadian waters, while Jefferson is a 12-foot, 7-inch adult male which was tagged just off Hirtle’s Beach in Nova Scotia. Hal measures 12 feet, 6 inches and is the largest of the group at 1,420 pounds, while Cabot is a smaller 9-foot, 8-inch sub-adult shark which weighs 533 pounds.

The reason why the sharks decided to collaborate and linger in the Outer Banks region is unknown.

The Raleigh News and Observer hypothesized that the sharks could be taking advantage of all of the upwellings that occur right on the fringe of the Gulf Stream, which results in nutrient-rich waters and plentiful feeding grounds.

That’s also why the local charter boat fleet fishing for tuna have been dealing with all kinds of other sharks recently.

Many of their catches are devoured by the predators before they can reach the boat, or they leave only the head for anglers.

The public can follow the great whites as they continue to cluster along the Carolina coastline on the Global Tracker Website, http://www.ocearch.org/.

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