An ocean research group said Monday that one of its tagged great white sharks has been located in Long Island Sound for the first time in the organization’s history, swimming off Greenwich just before 9 a.m.
The shark, known as Cabot, has been measured at 9 feet, 8 inches long and its weight is estimated at about 533 pounds, according to experts at OCEARCH, a research group that routinely tags and tracks sharks and other marine creatures.
“This is the first I’ve heard of,” said Matt Gates, a supervising fisheries biologist at the state’s marine fisheries headquarters in Old Lyme, said in response to the OCEARCH documentation of a great white coming into the Sound.
So cool to be tracking @WhiteSharkCabot in the Long Island Sound since as far as we know, it'is unusual for white sharks to visit the area. pic.twitter.com/GWeh9ZbjMB
— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) May 20, 2019
But Gates said great whites have likely been coming into the Sound before now looking for their favorite prey – seals – but haven’t actually been seen by anyone.
“The Sound’s a pretty big place… and they can go unnoticed,” Gates said.
Gates said these top predators normally frequent waters where there are a lot more seals than in Long Island Sound. Great whites have been spotted with increasing frequency in recent years off Cape Cod where seal populations have been booming.
A man died after being attacked by a shark off Cape Cod last fall, the first shark fatality recorded in Massachusetts in 80 years, according to news reports.
Gates said having a great white in the Sound isn’t anything to worry about “if you’re not in the water swimming with it.”