Katharine The Great White Shark Signals From Inside Cape Cod Bay

A tag attached to a great white shark named Katharine over a year ago by OCEARCH researchers has sent a signal indicating that the 14-foot-long predator is currently swimming in the waters of Cape Cod Bay.

Katharine’s tag signaled off the National Seashore on October 5th, and it didn’t take long for the shark to find her way into the bay. On October 7th, Katharine’s tag “pinged” near Duck Creek in Wellfleet Harbor, according to Cape Cod Online.

Chris Fischer, founding chairman and expedition leader at OCEARCH, was surprised to see Katharine’s tag indicate that she has entered the bay. While Katharine isn’t the first shark to swim there, the animals usually avoid the area. After contacting shark researcher Greg Skomal, however, Fischer was able to confirm the tag’s transmission.

The tracking device that researchers attached to Katherine signals them every time the shark’s dorsal fin breaks the surface for over 90 seconds. Contacting a satellite, the tag relays the great white’s location to scientists who are then able to follow the animal’s movements in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of great whites. OCEARCH currently tracks over a hundred individual sharks.

Katharine’s journey has been followed closely by shark enthusiasts ever since she was tagged off the Massachusetts coast last year. Named in honor of Cape Cod native Katharine Lee Bates, author of America the Beautiful, the 2,300 pound great white has traveled over 8,000 miles since she was tagged. The last year saw Katharine migrate South along America’s East Coast, rounding the Florida panhandle in June and entering the Gulf of Mexico. In late summer she retraced her course, arriving back in Cape Cod in late September, as The Inquisitr noted.

Despite cooling weather, Katharine is not alone in the area. As The Boston Globe notes, Dr. Skomal tagged the 15th great white of the season on Monday, near Chatham. At 17 feet in length, the shark was one of the biggest he’d tagged this year. Skomal noted that it isn’t unusual to see great whites in the area so late in the season due to the thriving seal colony that attracts them. A handful of the animals will remain in the area as late as December before swimming South.

“This year the sharks are still around, so we will continue to tag them as long as we can,” Skomal asserted.

Despite the presence of other sharks, Katharine is the only great white tracked by OCEARCH to enter Cape Cod Bay in the last month.

[Image: OCEARCH via Twitter]

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