BARNEGAT, NJ — Great white shark Mary Lee continues her northward trek to cooler waters, passing by Long Beach Island and now tracked about 20 miles off the Jersey coast near Barnegat.
Her latest ping was recorded at 12:16 p.m. on June 1 by Ocearch’s Global Shark Tracker. According to the information derived from the global positioning satellite (GPS) tag in her dorsal fin, it appears she is heading away from the coastline.
The 16-foot, 3,500-pound shark's smaller traveling companion — Cisco, a nearly 9-foot, 362-pound immature great white — has not been pinged since May 30 when he was some 30 miles off of Cape May.
Since she was tagged off Cape Cod on September 17, 2012, Mary Lee has traveled up and down the East Coast — from Nova Scotia to the Turks and Caicos Islands — for a total of some 40,000 miles. Her last appearance off the Jersey coast was May 2016, where she was tracked off Atlantic City.
Cisco was tagged off Nantucket, Mass., on October 7, 2016, and has traveled a total of some 2,300 miles.
Mary Lee is among dozens of apex predators throughout the world that have been tagged by Ocearch researchers with GPS devices in order to track their movements to better understand their behaviors. Ocearch registers a ping when the shark’s dorsal fin breaks through the water, transmitting a signal that provides an estimated location. The group then displays a marker on a Google Earth map indicating where the ping was received.
For great whites that travel the East Coast, it is the time of year they leave their winter locations along the southeastern United States as water temperatures begin to climb and they head north to colder waters.
For Mary Lee @MaryLeeShark, her travels have drawn particular attention on social media, and she now has 113,000 Twitter followers, including one "Pastor Mac," who tweeted, "Belmar is a nice place for a seal snack...wave a fin at Harvey Cedars Police when you go by!"
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