A great white shark originally tagged off South Carolina has surprised researchers by showing up nearly 2,000 miles south, off Veracruz, Mexico, according to the shark research agency OCEARCH.
The 1,435-pound shark’s motive — and intended destination — remain a mystery.
“White shark Caroline is approximately 52 nautical miles off Veracruz, Mexico!” OCEARCH wrote in a Feb. 15 Facebook post.
“This is the first time in our Western North Atlantic White Shark Study that a shark has sent us a ping in the Bay of Campeche, Mexico.”
Caroline is 12 feet, 9 inches long, making her among the largest of the 88 white sharks being tracked by OCEARCH.
The nonprofit’s GPS data has proven white sharks use the East Coast as a highway in the winter, traveling south from the North Atlantic to the tip of Florida.
It’s suspected they migrate in pursuit of food, mates, and warmer water.
However, that doesn’t explain why some go into the Gulf of Mexico and even farther west to southern Mexico, OCEARCH says.
None have been tracked as far away as Caroline. And adding to the mystery is the fact she vanished from the coast of New England in June, only to reappear in Mexico on Feb. 14, tracking shows. What happened during the eight months between is a mystery, too.
The waters off Veracruz are “a very productive area full of fish,” but sharks also face greater threats from shipping and commercial fishing, experts say.
“This movement further emphasizes the multinational nature of white shark migration in the Western North Atlantic, and the need for coordinated conservation on a multilateral scale, not just within US waters,” OCEARCH Chief Scientist Dr. Bob Hueter said, per the Facebook post.
Caroline was originally tagged in 2019 and has since traveled 17,000 miles, including waters as far north as Newfoundland, Canada.