A massive great white shark has been recorded swimming up and down the East Coast in recent months. And it's expected to head north soon.
The shark, which was named “Ironbound” after an island near Nova Scotia where it was first spotted, is 12 feet, four inches long and weighs 998 pounds.
OCEARCH researchers reported that the male shark was swimming just off the New Jersey coast on April 2 before heading south near the coast of North Carolina, where he pinged on Monday.
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Researchers say Ironbound has travelled more than 13,400 miles since they began tracking him 2019.
"He's gone back and forth from where we found him in Nova Scotia and the Florida Keys several times,", OCEARCH’s chief scientist Bob Hueter told CNN.
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Despite his venture back to the North Carolina area, researchers say he will likely soon be headed back north. He pinged off the New England coast multiple times last summer, even sticking around until early November before heading back south.
Sharks tend to migrate north and move to closer shorelines as waters begin to warm after winter months. June is typically when great white shark sightings start to pop up off Cape Cod. Twenty great white sharks were tagged on the Cape last year, and hundreds of sightings were reported.
No shark sightings have been reported off the Cape yet this season, according to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy's Sharktivity app.
“Ironbound will likely spend most of his summer and early fall in those northern waters around Nova Scotia before turning around and returning to Florida,” Hueter said.
There have been 471 shark attacks by various species in the U.S. since 2012. Eight of them were fatal, according to shark experts from the Florida Museum of Natural History and International Shark Attack Files. Researchers also recorded 73 unprovoked incidents in 2021, compared to 52 bites in 2020, according to a report released earlier this year.
Four summers ago, Cape Cod saw two great white shark attacks on humans, including the state's first fatal attack since 1936.