15-foot, 2,000-pound great white shark tracked off coast of Louisiana

"Unama’ki could be showing us a whole new piece of the white shark puzzle. The more than 2,000-pound female has crossed west of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico and is pinging in an area we have never tracked a white shark to before." (Source: OCEARCH)
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Gulf of Mexico is home to a new great white shark.

A group of researchers and scientists have tracked the great white from Nova Scotia all the way to the Louisiana gulf coast.

OCEARCH says this is the first time they’ve tracked one to the area.

“Is this a whole new piece to the white shark puzzle?” the group tweeted on Feb. 24.

The shark, Unama’ki, is an adult female white shark that was originally tagged in September 2019. She’s 15′5″ long and weighs 2,076 pounds. She is one of the largest sharks ever caught in the northeast and the largest one currently being tracked by OCEARCH.

Unamaki’s track, which begins off the coast of Nova Scotia, has taken her 3,120 miles in 103 days around the Florida peninsula to the Gulf of Mexico.

OCEARCH says it’s possible she’s headed to Texas. “She’s a shark on the move!” they said.

Unama’ki’s location near Louisiana may be significant as large great white sharks do not typically travel that far north into the Gulf of Mexico, especially big females.

It has been known for a long time that great white sharks visit the Gulf, but the majority of their activity there remains a mystery since data sets on their movements in the region are lacking compared to other areas in the Northwest Atlantic.

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.

Several other mako, hammerhead, tiger, and bull sharks have also been pinged recently in the Gulf waters and near the coast of Florida.

OCEARCH is a data-centric organization built to help scientists collect previously unattainable data in the ocean. Their team of 174 scientists have tagged 416 animals over 34 expeditions. Their first mission was in 2007 to Guadalupe Island, Mexico.

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