White Shark Stuns Scientists With Surprise Journey

Scientists tracking the activities of a Great White shark named LeeBeth are ecstatic because the massive fish’s incredible voyage might reveal important information to aid the species.

Among the mackerel shark family, the formidable and sometimes lethal white shark is also called the white pointer or great white shark. A big, stocky body, a pointed head, big fins, and a powerful tail make up its unique look. The white shark is a legendary predator due to its exceptional sense of smell, excellent eyesight, and powerful muscles. Their enormous jaws and coarsely serrated teeth can rip into flesh and crush bones. Their diet consists of various marine sealife found in coastal seas across the globe that are mild in temperature.

In the 1970s, the blockbuster film Jaws popularized great white sharks. For a while, they were hunted mercilessly out of fear. Sharks were officially recognized as a protected species in 1997, and some experts noted that the increasing numbers of Atlantic Ocean seals are aiding them.

Scientists have been following the 14-footer LeeBeth since she was fitted with her tracking device in South Carolina last December. They announced that she had sailed almost 2,000 miles south into the Gulf of Mexico. In late February, she shattered records by swimming into the Gulf further than any white shark ever monitored.

Megan Winton, head scientist for the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, said that the shark’s appearance this far west suggests that the Gulf of Mexicolocation may be important for other white sharks.  According to Winton, more than 300 white sharks have been tagged so far via a partnership between the Massachusetts state government and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, and other groups throughout the world have tagged many more.

The conservation group collaborated with Outcast Sport Fishing, a fishing excursion based in Hilton Head, South Carolina, to capture LeeBeth.

According to Outcast owner Chip Michalove, LeeBeth was a particularly useful shark to tag because she returned more signals from her tracking device than the others. Whenever she surfaces, the tracker sends out a signal.

On March 7, when LeeBeth last checked in, the Great White was around 100 miles offshore from Galveston, Texas, according to monitoring data.