Great white shark tracked off Atlantic City

Trish Hartman Image
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Great white shark tracked off Atlantic City
The 10-foot great white shark is known as Miss May and was tracked off the coast.

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A great white shark was tracked 50 to 80 miles off the coast of Atlantic City on Tuesday, piquing the interest of some beachgoers.

One researcher said great white sharks can travel up to 150 miles a day, so that shark is likely well north of Atlantic City by now.

Experts said this pattern of movement is normal, and no cause for concern for beachgoers in New Jersey. But when one is spotted, word travels fast.

"My sister texted me something about a shark close to Atlantic City," said Carol Courtney, of Northeast Philadelphia, who was visiting Atlantic City.

The 10-foot great white shark is known as Miss May and was tagged off the coast of Florida last year. Her movements are now tracked by OCEARCH, an ocean research organization.

"This is pretty predictable for her migratory path. She'll be making her way past your beaches, around Montauk (New York), and up into the Cape Cod area over the next week or so," said Chris Fischer, founding chairman of OCEARCH.

On Monday, a woman was killed after being attacked by a great white shark off the coast of Maine.

Officials believe it is the first fatal shark attack recorded in the state. The woman was wearing a wet suit at the time, officials adding that a shark could've mistaken the wet suit for a seal.

Steve Nagiewicz, a marine science professor with Stockton University, says shark attacks are rare, but they do happen.

"Nobody knows why sharks attack, especially attack people. In this case, the shark may have been feeding in that area and that unfortunate person...wrong place, wrong time," said Nagiewicz.

Experts say as a general rule, keep an eye on the wildlife when you're at the beach.

"If you walk out to the beach and the birds are crashing on bait and game fish are crashing on bait - if there are seals on top of that - then you might have a larger predator coming in to balance that system," said Fischer.

On Wednesday, a shark was spotted off the coast of Long Island, New York, and while beaches were kept open, swimming was restricted.