In September, it was one of five predators from the deep creating consternation off the Cape Cod town of Chatham.
Now, one of those great white sharks is being hailed as a trove of scientific information. The voracious animal, which was tagged by state marine biologists when it was swimming off Chatham, has surfaced 50 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla., and its tag has begun transmitting data.
“We were very pleased to hear that this one had surfaced,” said Catherine Williams, spokeswoman for the Division of Marine Fisheries, which led the tagging project. “We’re expecting that the other four will surface any time between now and the spring, but, of course, there are no guarantees.”
The shark first surfaced on Friday. Using satellite-based technology, the tag will transmit data that has been collected since September. Scientists will receive a variety of measurements, including water depth and temperature.
Williams said it will take about a week for scientists to analyze the data.
This was the first successful tagging of great white sharks in the Atlantic Ocean using satellite technology. A previous unsuccessful attempt was in 2004, when a shark was trapped in a shallow tidal pool at Naushon Island off the Massachusetts coast.
“I think this is one of the most intriguing yet least understood animals on the face of the earth,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles. “This is a species that has captured the imagination of beachgoers and boaters and the general public for generations now, and it’s remarkable how little we know about its life cycle and habits.”
“To be able to start to understand where these sharks go in the winter and the fall will begin to tell us a lot more about them,” Bowles said.
"We’re looking forward to sharing the findings," Bowles said in a statement. "So far, all we know is that this particular shark is a snowbird.”
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