Elias The Hammerhead Shark Pays A Visit To The Asbury Park Boardwalk

Elias, a smooth hammerhead shark recently tagged by Ocearch, has made his presence known off the New Jersey coast, signaling just a few hundred feet from the popular shoreline.

Measuring nearly seven-feet-long and weighing in around 100 pounds, Elias has been swimming along the New Jersey coast for most of the last week, as NJ.com reports. Though the shark has spent much of his time roughly 30 miles from the shore off Long Beach Island, he changed course on Sunday, bringing him close to the Asbury Park boardwalk. The shark’s stay in shallower water was brief, however, and just before 2 a.m. on Monday morning, his tag broke the surface from a point further out to sea, north of Long Beach.

The shark, a smooth hammerhead, is a recent addition to the Ocearch roster, having been tagged by researchers during the Carl Darenberg Memorial Shark’s Eye Tournament in Montauk on July 19, as the Inquisitr previously reported. Elias was one of several sharks tagged during the event, but his inclusion among the other Ocearch sharks is considered a “milestone,” according to Dr. Greg Skomal, as he is one of the first of his species to carry a receiver.

Since he was tagged, Elias has traveled several hundred miles in the waters south of Long Island. The area is believed to be a nursery for larger species of sharks, including great whites, and earlier this year it attracted another animal followed by Ocearch, named Mary Lee. A 16-foot-long white shark that was tagged off Cape Cod in September of 2012, Mary Lee gained instant notoriety when her course brought her past the New Jersey shoreline, as National Geographic reported. Her stay in northern waters was brief, however, and Mary Lee returned south, where she has since lingered along with several other sharks tracked by Ocearch, including the famed Katharine.

While smooth hammerhead sharks can grow up to 13-feet-long, most hammerhead species are small and considered harmless toward people. The great hammerhead can grow to lengths of 20 feet, yet attacks are still rarely recorded. According to Marie Levine, executive director of the Shark Research Institute in Princeton, swimmers shouldn’t fear Elias and his brethren.

“Hammerheads haven’t shown much interest in humans. They are very rarely implicated in bites with people.”

Despite his relatively harmless nature, New Jersey beachgoers will no doubt be watching closely to see where Elias the shark heads next.

[Photo by Ocearch via NJ.com]

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