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One of the world’s largest great white sharks is currently prowling up the East Coast of the United States, headed off to find food as the seasons change.
When we say this is a big shark, we mean it.
It’s been dubbed 'Ironbound', and it measures at more than 12 feet in length, as well as weighing around 452 kilograms.
Try to imagine that in the room you’re sitting in now, and you might start to get an idea of how vast this fish is.
He’s called Ironbound after the West Ironbound Island near to Lunenberg, which is where the shark was originally tagged, off the Nova Scotia coast of Canada.
Since then, the shark has been on an epic sea journey that has taken it 13,000 miles, before bringing it back to not too far away from that first human encounter.
The researchers that managed to tag him, from marine group Ocearch, get a little notification every time the shark’s dorsal fin breaks through the surface of the water.
That’s how they know that the huge great white isn’t too far away from New Jersey, because the pinger last went off at 10:30pm on April 28 around there.
Just three days before, the shark was tracked off the North Carolina coast, suggesting that it is migrating to the north in order to find food near to Canada.
Given the size of the thing, you wouldn’t bet against it finding some food up there, too.
It’s worth noting at this stage that while great whites are large and fearsome-looking, in truth attacks are rare, and they generally can’t be bothered with humans as long as they are given a wide berth.
Bob Heuter, chief scientist from Ocearch, 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.”
Wow, this thing is heading out to make some gains – imagine how big it might get for next season.
Heuter 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.”
The work done at Ocearch is important because – despite having been around on the planet for longer than nearly everything else – their population is falling rapidly because of human causes, particularly overfishing.
Great white sharks are currently categorised as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The biggest shark ever recorded was nicknamed Deep Blue and weighed 2.5 tonnes.
Currently Ocearch are tracking a 17-foot shark called Queen of the Ocean, a 15-foot female called Miss Costa, and a huge 20-foot called Haole Girl.
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