Katharine The Great White Shark May Have Started Her Winter Migration

Katharine, the 14-foot-long great white shark that became a social media star after she was tagged by Ocearch, may be departing the chilly waters off Nantucket, mirroring the southerly course she struck out upon last year.

At this time in 2013, Katharine was sighted just five miles off Daytona Beach, according to Space Coast Daily. This year, however, the shark has lingered off Cape Cod, where she was tagged on August 20, 2013, signaling multiple times as her fin breaks the surface.

Now Katharine appears to be embarking on a southerly course, though farther from shore than in the previous year. Early in the morning of January 2, the shark’s tag signaled from a position over the continental shelf, east of Long Island and far out to sea. Katharine was detected nine times in that region over the course of the day, before turning farther south. Her last recorded position, taken at 10:51 p.m. on January 3, placed the shark east of Atlantic City, beyond the edge of the continental shelf.

Several of the white sharks sighted off Cape Cod were expected to remain in the area until late in the season, according to Dr. Greg Skomal, a Senior Marine Fisheries Biologist with the state of Massachusetts, taking advantage of the region’s food resources. In October, Skomal spoke with the Boston Globe, noting that several white sharks would likely move south as late as December, having lingered in their summer hunting grounds. Skomal and his team began tagging great whites off the cape last July, working until the end of October, when the weather turned uncooperative.

A few days before Christmas, a great white was photographed off Chatham Harbor by Wayne Davis, a spotter pilot for the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. Just days earlier, Katharine had surfaced near Falmouth beaches, as the Inquisitr previously noted.

Among the 80 great whites that Ocearch has tagged, Katharine is unique, according to Chris Fischer, the organization’s founder.

“Katharine stands out because she constantly comes up finning, which means she likes to spend a lot of time on or near the surface,” he observed. “She is so coastal, almost living on the beaches, as well. It makes her somewhat of a media darling as she passes by. At the same time, she is giving us the most comprehensive look at her life.”

Researchers will be able to track Katharine for up to 10 years, thanks to a tag implanted in her abdomen. A separate transmitter attached to the white shark’s dorsal fin will detach after a set period of time, revealing a wide range of data about Katharine’s life.

[Image: Ocearch via CNN]

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