The platform used to tag the infamous man-eating predators off of Jacksonville, Florida
As reported yesterday on the BBC, a 4.4m-long female Great White shark by the name of Lydia appears to be headed straight for European waters. Originally tagged off the coast of Florida as part of a new scientific research programme carried out by Ocearch, the white pointer has so far (in the space of just over a year) travelled more than 30,500km and at present finds herself above the mid-Atlantic ridge, just 1,600km from the coasts of Ireland and Cornwall in Britain. Yikes!
The satellite tracking system that shows Lydia’s progress.
As for where Lydia might go next, Dr Skomal explained: “We have no idea how far she will go, but Europe, the Med, and the coast of Africa are all feasible.”
While the Mediterranean is long known to host a now endangered Great White population, scientists have never been able to agree on their origin. Certain believing the Med acts as a spawning ground for these open-ocean predators who enter through the Straits of Gibraltar. Others arguing the Middle Sea has always hosted a resident population due to a group of wayward females who got lost 450,000 years ago after extreme climate change.
So, although it’s still early days in the research process, scientists are finally hoping to rewrite what we thought we knew about the habits, migration patterns and food sources of the world’s Great White population.
What we do already known is that Great Whites, much like the birds, can travel huge distances. In fact, a Great White nicknamed Nicole is known to have travelled from South Africa to Australia and back in 2004 – a journey of more than 20,000km. But whether Lydia’s journey is at all usual nobody really knows, seeing as this North Atlantic satellite-tagging data is the first of its kind.
Incidentally, on a more unpleasant note, it’s just been reported that a 3.5 metre white pointer has been caught and killed right next to Snapper Rocks so they’re all feeling pretty rattled down there too.