Great White Shark Ironbound Tracked Just Off Florida Coast

A massive 1,100 pound great white shark named Ironbound has been pinged off the Florida coast.

Ironbound's tracker last placed it just off the coast, northeast of Fort Lauderdale, on January 22, 2023. Prior to this ping, Ironbound was tracked southeast of Miami beach on January 14, and before that, it had been moving southwards from much further up the East coast. In December last year, Ironbound was pinged in waters far off North Carolina, and in November it was tracked to off Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, while in October, it was around Nova Scotia in Canada.

Ironbound is one of many marine animals followed by ocean research organization OCEARCH. A male shark, Ironbound measures in at 12 feet and 4 inches long, and he weighs a gargantuan 1,189 lbs. He was originally tagged in October 2019, off the coast of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

great white shark ironbound
A file photo of a great white shark. OCEARCH-tracked great white Ironbound has pinged off the coast of Florida as of January 22. iStock / Getty Images Plus

Great white sharks can be found all over the world, although they tend to spend more time near to the coastlines of temperate regions. They can grow to lengths of up to 20 feet, and weigh up to 5,000 pounds. There are many great white sharks off the U.S. East Coast:

These sharks tend to follow an annual migration pattern, swimming northwards toward Canada in the summer months, before heading southwards to Florida in the winter.

"Most, but not all, species of highly mobile sharks in the Northern Hemisphere move southward in the winter as they are following their food," Gavin Naylor, director at the Florida Program for Shark Research, previously told Newsweek.

"Indeed, food availability drives a lot of animal movement. Sometimes sharks move inshore to drop pups if they are live bearing or egg cases, if they lay eggs, to provide a more secure environment for their young."

Not all sharks follow this pattern, however, as can be seen in other OCEARCH tracked shark's movements.

"White sharks are quite large and, as a result, have considerable thermal inertia," Naylor previously told Newsweek. This means they don't "warm up" or "cool down" as much as would smaller animals, so temperature per se is less of a driver of movement than is food availability. If you look at multiple white shark tracks in the Northwest Atlantic, you will see that they are all over the place."

Great whites are classified as "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Their populations have declined by between 30 and 49 percent over the past few centuries, mostly due to the actions of humans. The major threats to great white sharks include overfishing, both deliberate and via bycatch, plastic pollution and other chemical pollutants in the water.

OCEARCH captures and tags sharks, seals, dolphins and turtles to gather data on these species movements. When these animals move close to the ocean's surface, the tracker "pings" and the scientists can see where they are.

Ironbound's tracking data shows that since he was tagged, he has traveled over 17,100 miles. That's the equivalent of the distance between New York and Sydney, Australia, across the Pacific Ocean—twice over.

Other great white sharks have been recently pinged in the same area as Ironbound, having also swum south for the winter.

See posts, photos and more on Facebook.

"White sharks Sable, Keji, and Maple are all in the Gulf of Mexico! These 3 sharks visited the gulf last winter as well," OCEARCH posted on Facebook on January 30.

"We're excited to continue to watch their movements on the OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker."

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