A massive great white shark, one of the largest ever of the fish that researchers have been able to tag has been spotted swimming off of Key Largo south of Miami, Florida according to reports. The huge shark alerted researchers on Thursday when its dorsal fin completely rose above the surface of the water at 5:46 am ET. The appearance of the shark’s dorsal fin sent a signal to the researchers who tagged and have been following the movements of the great white.
The great white, named Unama’ki, meaning “land of the fog” in the native tongue of the people of Mi’kmaq was tagged in Nova Scotia about two months ago. Unama’ki measures a massive 15 feet in length and weighs up to 2,076 lbs (942 kg), making her the second-biggest great white tagged by the researchers at Ocearch, an organization which specializes in tracking huge aquatic animals to study their habits.
Unama’ki is just one of the massive great whites that have been tagged. These species of sharks are the biggest predators in the ocean. On average, great whites grow to about 15 feet in length and can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg) according to researchers of National Geographic. Some great whites can be over 20 feet long, (6 meters) the researchers stated.
About one month ago, the Ocearch team was able to successfully tag another female great white pegged at 17 feet (5 meters) in length with a weight of 3,541 pounds (1,606 kg). The great white shark which has been named Nukumi was discovered off the coast of Nova Scotia according to the team. They call her “the Queen of the ocean”. Nukumi’s namesake is a legendary, intelligent mother figure amongst the Mi’kmaq people of Canada’s Atlantic provinces, Fox News reports.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature categorizes great white sharks as “vulnerable”. The Ocearch team explains that they are categorized as vulnerable because they are top marine predators; as such, they are an important part of the ecosystem and needed in keeping the balance of biodiversity.
According to Ocearch, Unama’ki seems to be plying the same route as two other great whites, Luna and Lydia. The researchers hope that the sharks are moving to a yet unidentified great white nursery, a site where the giant predators give birth. The Ocearch team states that this will be crucial in discovering more about the predators.
Following Unama’ki might prove to be difficult as great whites are mysterious animals. They can only be spotted when their fins break the surface. Researchers explained that it is still unclear how much time the sharks spend on the surface as it differs from one great white to the other.
You can follow Unama’ki’s journey to a possible great white nursery every time she breaks the surface of the water.