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Montauk, a baby great white shark tagged by OCEARCH on Aug. 19, was tracked a few miles off of the Guilford shoreline on Sept. 24. (Photo courtesy of OCEARCH )
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An unusual visitor was spotted in Long Island Sound on Sept. 23. According to OCEARCH’s shark tracker, a great white shark was officially tracked in the central Sound off of Guilford for the very first time.
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk shared the news of the great white on its Facebook page on Sept. 24. The shark, named Montauk, had been tagged just a month before by shark tagging and study organization OCEARCH, according to Aquarium Publicist Dave Sigworth.
Montauk, a 4.6-foot female shark who weighs about 50 pounds, is the first white shark tagged during Expedition NY 2016. According to the OCEARCH site www.ocearch.org, Montauk was born this year and her tracking data will add to data that will determine the birthing site for the Atlantic white shark.
“They [OCEARCH] outfit the sharks with a tag so when the dorsal fin of the shark with the tag breaks the surface of the water, which is only occasionally, that sends a ping, and then that ping shows up on the map to show where that shark is,” he said.
Sigworth said the organization tracks all types of sharks all over New England, and while the official tracking is exciting, he said great whites have probably appeared in the Sound before.
“What is interesting about this or noteworthy is this is the first time we know for certain that there was one, but we suspect they are there sometimes,” he said. “There are a number of species of sharks in the sound. Great whites are not considered one of usual suspects, but we think that they do enter from time to time.”
Sigworth said the shark posses little to no threat, noting that the last recorded shark attack in the Sound was in 1961, and is best left alone.
“The one thing we don’t want is everyone and their brother getting on their boats and going out and chumming and thinking that they are going to catch this shark,” he said. “Just leave it alone—it is not going to bother you. There are sharks in the sound just like there are sharks in the ocean but they are cool and actually we are a much greater danger to sharks than sharks are to us.”
To learn more or to track the shark, visit www.ocearch.org/tracker.
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