Great white shark seen off Jersey Shore

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Friday, May 8, 2015
VIDEO: Great white shark swimming off Jersey Shore
She is a great white shark, and scientists have been following her for three years.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (WPVI) -- A great white shark has been spotted swimming just off the coast at the Jersey Shore. But this one isn't exactly like Jaws. She has a name, a tracker, and even a Twitter account.

On a day where you could stand on the Jersey Shore and hear the ocean long before you could see it, there was a lot talk about Mary Lee.

Lou Borkowski of Brigantine says, "It's a nice name but I wouldn't want to run into Mary Lee. I would tell you that right now."

Yes, she's 3,500 pounds of great white shark just off our coast.

Mary Lee was captured and tagged in Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 2012 by non-profit OCEARCH.

Researchers have been electronically monitoring the big fish since, tracking her 20,000 mile journey up and down the East Coast.

OCEARCH tracks all tagged sharks live on its website, as well as individual sharks like Mary Lee.

Marine Biologist Robert Hueter has been on OCEARCH-led expeditions and says the data learned from Mary Lee has been invaluable as researchers learn about the animals that are important ecologically.

Dr. Hueter says, "Now we are seeing really basically the daily lives of these sharks being played out. And we're understanding more about where their critical habitats are, what needs to be protected."

Last month she was in the Carolinas. This morning Mary Lee was just 10 miles east of Atlantic City and Brigantine.

Dr. Hueter says Mary Lee and other sharks being tracked have proved they have been coming close to the shore for eons, and they want nothing to do with us.

Mary Lee may be scary up close, but she's popular on social media, with 17,000 followers on Twitter.

And soon she may have more. It's possible on this Mother's Day weekend, since Mary Lee is carrying pups. Yes, baby sharks!

Marine biologists say Mary Lee is somewhat of a snow bird, following those warmer waters. She should be off the coast of New York Sunday and soon she'll be summering in Cape Cod.