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Way Downstream … (May 23-29, 2019)

Following the great white shark
     On the afternoon of Monday, May 20, the organization OCEARCH tweeted us about something not seen before: verification of a 10-foot-long great white shark in Long Island Sound.
     The same 500-plus-pound predator, named Cabot, was tracked recently in Delaware Bay on its way northward, according to OCEARCH, the organization that tags sharks and collects data on their movements.
     Cabot was nowhere near as big as Mary Lee, pinged early in Delaware Bay, a 16-foot-long great white that weighed nearly two tons.
    That may not be comforting to folks headed to Atlantic beaches Memorial Day weekend. But great whites are out there, moving north as the waters warm, and thanks to OCEARCH, we’re hearing frequently about their travels in the mid-Atlantic.
     For instance, on May 9, a great white named Luna was tagged off South Carolina, near where still another biggie, 14-foot-long Katharine, showed up two days later.
     We’ve seen no recent reports of great whites in Chesapeake Bay, but scientists say that we can expect to host more of them given warming waters and the ability of these marauding creatures to locate abundant food sources.
     In the Bay, the most common big shark is the sandbar (up to eight feet long), which uses Chesapeake waters as a nursery in the summer and fall. We’ve also heard reports about tiger sharks (10 feet long), that like to patrol the bottom for fish dinners.
     You can follow your favorite great white at www.ocearch.org.