As spring breakers take to the beaches of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, they might be joined by an aquatic friend spotted just off the coast: a great white shark named Breton.
Breton is one of dozens of sharks being tracked by OCEARCH, a nonprofit marine research group which provides open-source data about shark migration.
On Saturday, Breton’s tracker “pinged” near the Pamlico Sound on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The adult male shark is around 13 feet long and weighs about 1,437 pounds, OCEARCH reported.
OCEARCH first tagged Breton near Nova Scotia in September 2020 with an electronic tracker, which pings whenever he breaks the water’s surface.
Like other great whites in the Atlantic, he seems to currently be making his yearly migration from the Florida Keys northward to Canada. OCEARCH previously told CNN the sharks spend their summers in the “very rich feeding grounds” off the eastern US and Canada before returning south again for the winter.
Breton was the first shark tagged during OCEARCH’s 2020 Nova Scotia expedition, according to its website. He was named after the “wonderful people of Cape Breton,” says the organization.
And Breton has company: Several other great white sharks being tracked by OCEARCH have also reached the North Carolina coast. Simon and Jekyll, both 8-foot long male white sharks, pinged near the Pamlico Sound Saturday.
Great white sharks are marked as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The predators mostly face population decline due to overfishing of their prey as well as accidental capture by fishermen.