A 533-pound Great White Shark Has Been Tracked Swimming Inland on the North Carolina Coast

A great white shark measuring 9-foot-8 inches in length has been tracked entering Albemarle Sound—a large estuary on the coast of North Carolina.

The 533-pound shark, known as Cabot, swam inland from the Atlantic into the estuary on Wednesday, with its tracker pinging at around 8 p.m. close to Point Harbour, WAVY reported.

Cabot was tagged with a monitoring device by non-profit OCEARCH in 2013. This tag enables scientists to monitor the animal's movements, providing insights into its behavior.

The shark was named after the Italian navigator John Cabot who sailed along the coast of North America in 1497 in what was the earliest known European exploration of this part of the world since the visits of Norse Vikings in the eleventh century.

OCEARCH has been tracking sharks off the North American east coast for several years, revealing how great whites often migrate thousands of miles from more northerly latitudes to the warmer waters off the coast of Georgia, the Carolinas and Florida during the winter.

The non-profit's monitoring data shows that all of the great whites that it tagged in the waters off Nova Scotia, Canada, this year are now spread out across a vast region.

"They've got a good chunk of the east coast covered right now," the non-profit said.

Tagging data like this has revealed that there could be two sub-populations of white sharks in the northwest Atlantic: one that congregates in the area of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the late summer and early fall, and another that aggregates in Canada.

"So in the study of the white shark in the northwest Atlantic, we're tracking these big animals all the way from Atlantic Canada to all the way down in the Florida peninsula," Robert Hunter, OCEARCH's chief science advisor, said in a Facebook post.

"Something fascinating that we've noticed is that there are some animals that go to the Cape Cod area in the summertime to feed. And then there are others, that have bypassed cape cod and come up Nova Scotia to feed," he said. "So right now we are looking at the possibility of two distinct groups or subpopulations of white sharks in the northwest Atlantic."

great white shark
A great white shark. Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

This is just a hypothesis for now, so further research, such as genetic testing of the two proposed populations and analysis of tracking data, will be required to confirm the idea.

Earlier this year in September, OCEARCH caught and tagged a great white measuring 15 feet and 5 inches in length and weighing more than 2,000 pounds in the waters off Cape Breton in Nova Scotia.

The female shark, dubbed Unama'ki, is the second largest that OCEARCH has ever caught and tagged in the northwest Atlantic.

In late October, Unama'ki, entered the Gulf of Mexico after a journey of roughly 2,000 miles. A ping from her tracker on November 13 indicated that she has now made her way deeper into its waters. OCEARCH said that this visit to the Gulf is "quite a bit earlier than we are used to seeing."

In fact, one of the sharks that the non-profit is tracking pinged in the Gulf of Mexico in mid-October. This marked the first time that OCEARCH had tracked a great white into the Gulf in October.

Unama'ki's movements have been tracked all along the eastern seaboard, and OCEARCH researchers say this could provide fascinating new insights into the lives of these sharks.

"As a big mature female, Unama'ki has the potential to lead us to the site where she gives birth and exposes a new white shark nursery," the non-profit said.

A 533-pound Great White Shark Has Been Tracked Swimming Inland on the North Carolina Coast | Tech & Science