1,400lb Great White Shark Pings Off New Jersey Coast As It Heads North

A 1,400-pound great white shark has "pinged' off New Jersey, as it heads northward along the eastern U.S. coast.

The shark, known as Breton, has been fitted with a tracking device by researchers with marine organization OCEARCH. This tracking device, or tag, "pings" every time the shark's dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water. When this happens, the device sends a signal to a satellite, enabling OCEARCH scientists to pinpoint its location.

Breton is a 13.3-foot-long adult male great white that weighs 1,437 pounds. OCEARCH scientists first tagged the shark on September 12, 2020, in the waters off the Canadian coast near the province of Nova Scotia.

OCEARCH researchers named the shark after the island of Cape Breton, which lies at the eastern end of Nova Scotia.

The marine research organization has been tagging sharks all around the world since 2007. The data they have collected in that time has revealed that Nova Scotia is an important hotspot for great whites in the Northwest Atlantic, as are the waters around Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Since being tagged in Canadian waters last year, Breton has traveled thousands of miles. First, the shark moved southwards, swimming deep into the Atlantic, before taking a turn towards the Florida coast in December 2020.

Breton has officially started his move North! This 13ft, 1,437lb male white shark is currently off of Cape May, NJ.

Follow Along with Breton's Journey: https://t.co/sWUtXM0uRc

📷: @robertsnowphoto
#OCEARCH #FactsOverFear #Sharks #WhiteShark #SharkWeek pic.twitter.com/ydhME0wmmK

— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) July 12, 2021

Since reaching Florida's coastal waters at the start of 2021, the shark has spent most of its time swimming along the U.S. east coast—and now it appears to be moving northwards. On July 12, the shark pinged off Cape May, New Jersey. It is possible that it may now be heading towards Nova Scotia.

White sharks congregate at Cape Cod and Nova Scotia every year, in the late summer and fall, to feed on the abundance of seals—and other prey—that are not available on the southeast coast where they spend the rest of the year.

"One of the most exciting recent discoveries that we are still learning more about is just how important Canada is to Northwest Atlantic white sharks," OCEARCH's founding chairman and expedition leader Chris Fischer previously told Newsweek.

"For years it has been known that places like Cape Cod are fall hotspots for white sharks, but Canada was never really on anyone's radar. But the two expeditions to Nova Scotia showed us that something very special is happening up there. There are way more white sharks than anyone previously suspected."

According to the tracking data they have collected, OCEARCH researchers think that there may be two sub-populations of great white sharks in the Northwest Atlantic, both of which use either the Cape Cod or Nova Scotia feeding sites.

great white shark
A great white shark dubbed "Breton" that was tagged by OCEARCH researchers. OCEARCH/R. Snow