Great White Shark Ironbound Has Been Tracked to the Gulf of Maine

Ironbound, an enormous great white shark weighing nearly 1,000 pounds, has been tracked to the Gulf of Maine.

According to the OCEARCH shark tracker, the 12-foot, 4-inch predator was pinged in the area on May 26 in the early hours of the morning.

The ginormous shark's latest ping comes two weeks after he appeared near the Outer Banks in North Carolina. A week earlier, the great white was tracked off the New Jersey coast.

Other great whites were observed coming extremely close to the North Carolina coastline in recent weeks. Researchers believe this is because the great white sharks have just finished their mating season in the area, explaining their proximity to the U.S. coastline.

Ironbound has arrived in the Gulf of Maine on his usual annual migration route. A population of Atlantic great white sharks spend the winters in the south, then migrate along the East Coast to Canada. The sharks travel to the waters off North Carolina to mate, and head north during the spring and summer.

Great white shark
A stock photo shows a great white shark. Ironbound, a huge shark weighing 1,000 pounds, has been tracked to the Gulf of Maine. Rasmus-Raahauge/Getty Images

Great white sharks have been visiting the Gulf of Maine to feed for a long time. Cape Cod, in particular, has always been a hotspot for great white sharks due to the increasing seal population. Some scientists believe the sharks have widened their range further into the Gulf of Maine as competition for food in Cape Cod intensifies.

OCEARCH works to fit great white sharks with tracking devices so that they can observe their behavior.

Ironbound was first tagged by researchers in October 2019 near Nova Scotia, Canada. The tracking devices only ping when the shark comes close to the surface of the water.

When the shark was first tagged, researchers described him as one of the "toughest sharks" they've ever seen, "especially considering his size."

OCEARCH has kept a close eye on Ironbound throughout the years. He has previously been tracked from Canada all the way to the Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico.

The shark has been known to display behavior independent of other sharks. He has previously been observed traveling in opposite directions and changing his usual migration route by visiting the same waters twice in one season.

Recently, a solitary killer whale was spotted swimming east of Nantucket. The sighting was extremely rare, and had researchers concerned that it would deter sharks who visit the area every year.

The majority of great white sharks tagged by OCEARCH have arrived in Cape Cod, however there are a few exceptions.

Bob Hueter, chief scientist at OCEARCH previously told Newsweek that if the orca stays in the area during the summer, "there could be conflict" between the two predators.

Newsweek has approached OCEARCH for a comment.