Great white shark tracked in Bay of Fundy

·2 min read
A great white shark. Researchers say they have little idea how many of the species come to the Atlantic Canadian coast each summer and fall, but it could be dozens to hundreds. (© Ron & Valerie Taylor - image credit)
A great white shark. Researchers say they have little idea how many of the species come to the Atlantic Canadian coast each summer and fall, but it could be dozens to hundreds. (© Ron & Valerie Taylor - image credit)

A great white shark was tracked in the Bay of Fundy, off the coast of Musquash, over the weekend and scientists say there are likely dozens of the sharks coming to the waters each summer and fall.

The shark named Ironbound was tagged by Ocearch two years ago off the coast of Nova Scotia's West Ironbound island.

At the time, he was 3.8 metres long and weighed nearly 500 kilograms.

Ocearch is an organization that collects data on sharks by tagging them and tracking their movements. Chief scientist Robert Hueter said the population of great whites from the Gulf of Mexico to the north Atlantic coast has been increasing.

"After having been significantly depleted since about the 1960s, we've been trying to rebuild the population and get things back into balance since the early 2000s," Hueter said.

"Now the evidence shows that the numbers are increasing… We also think they have always been there. They just haven't been observed very often."

Ocearch has tagged 36 white sharks in Atlantic Canadian waters, said Hueter. And the same shark has never been caught twice.

"That shows just how many sharks are probably there. We have no idea what the total number is, but it's significant. And you know, Atlantic Canada, including the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, is an important part of the range of the species."

Since being tagged, Ironbound has gone from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Coast twice.

"We're talking about 10,800 miles straight line distance, according to his tracker."

The white sharks are coming to the Bay of Fundy to feed during the summer and fall months, said Hueter. He also said there may be the possibility that climate change and warming waters are pushing the sharks further north.

"They're up in the Bay of Fundy strictly to feed. We know that now and most of these animals are pretty good sized -- or they're not the little tiny, you know, the new ones. These are the larger juveniles or the adults. So we're talking about animals that are anywhere from, say, you know, 10 feet up to 17 or 18 feet."

Hueter says there are likely dozens coming to the Bay of Fundy each summer but there could be many more.

"Maybe even into the hundreds. We really don't know. We've only scratched the surface in our research."

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