A great white shark that is thought to be one of the biggest in the world has been spotted close to the coast of the United States. The 12ft shark 'Ironbound' has been tracked off the coast of New Jersey.
The huge great white shark known as 'Ironbound', measures 12ft 4in (3.7m) and is reported to weigh approximately 452kg (71st). The shark was tagged in October 2019 in waters around Nova Scotia, Canada, and is named after West Ironbound Island near Lunenburg. Experts who have been tracking the animal estimate it has travelled around 13,000 miles since being tagged in 2019.
The marine research group Ocearch fitted the tracker to Ironbound and it pings whenever the dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water. Over the last few weeks, the great white shark has been located on the US coast with its tracker last signaling off the coast of New Jersey on April 28, at approximately 10:30 pm. Just three days earlier, Ironbound pinged off the North Carolina coast in a sign that he is migrating north.
The chief scientist at Ocearch, Bob Hueter said: "They're moving north to the very rich feeding grounds off of Canada and the north-eastern US. Mating season is over, we think, and Ironbound is on his way north to get into some good feeding ground and bulk up again for the next year."
He added: "Sharks have been around for about 400 million years. They in many cases occupy what's called the apex predator position, in marine food webs. Just like on land, that is an important role in terms of keeping the lower parts of the food web healthy and balanced."
Over the last forty years, shark populations have decreased rapidly, however, on the east coast of the United States great white shark populations have started to improve.
Great white sharks are marked as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and face population decline caused by overfishing.
Ironbound is not the only huge great white shark that is stalking the US coast, others include 15ft Miss Costa, 20ft Haole Girl, and 17ft Queen of the Ocean. The biggest great white shark ever recorded is Deep Blue, weighing a huge 2.5 tonnes.