Katharine is a great white shark tagged by marine researchers last year and she is one lady baffling the scientists monitoring her journey. The one-ton great white is surpassing all expectations by the researchers keeping tabs on her because her travels are the opposite of what the researchers expected, according to Reuters News on June 19.
The young shark was tagged off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts last year and she has traveled to the northeast Gulf of Mexico this week. The shark has supplied the folks who are monitoring her day and night a “groundbreaking map of the shark highway.”
Researchers expected Katherine to make her way back up to the Cape Cod area in the summer months to feed on the seals that offer the sharks a bountiful harvest this time of year. Instead she headed down Gulf of Mexico way!
The researchers have no idea where she is headed, she could turn west and swim in towards Texas or she could turn back and head out to the deeper waters. Katherine isn’t the only shark the team is monitoring, but she has given them the most perplexing movements to date.
According to CNN News, Katherine is 14-feet long and weighs 2,300 pounds. She was most recently spotted about 100 miles off of the Florida Coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Researchers are predicting that the shark will be past the mouth of the Mississippi River in a week and soon after she’s expected to enter the waters off Texas.
Bob Hueter is part of the team watching Katherine’s movements on radar and he explains that each time the shark comes to the surface, a ping is sent off to a satellite, telling them where she is. Because sharks spend the majority of their time underwater, those pings are few and far between, but enough for the researchers to chart Katherine’s progress.
Betsy is another Great White being monitored by the team and while her movements aren’t as intriguing as her peer Katherine, she too was caught on radar in the Gulf of Mexico about 140 miles off Sanibel Island back on June 5.
Both sharks have “defied expectations” by staying down south in the warmer waters in lieu of coming back up north for what was thought to be their annual seal picnic. When Hueter was talking about the sharks seldom coming to the surface he equated them to “teenagers who don’t call home as often as they should!”
Would you like to join the researchers and track Katherine, Betsy and all the other tagged sharks? You can follow them just like the pros by going to www.ocearch.org.